Boy Scout wants to build pavilion at Paxton park by Nov. 7

PAXTON — Local Boy Scout Angel Nava gave the Paxton City Council an update on his progress in getting a pavilion built at the Howard Thomas Park on the city’s west side during Tuesday’s meeting.

In August, the council granted the Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School student permission to build the pavilion — a project he wants to undertake in order to earn his Eagle Scout merit badge.

Nava was told to meet with Mark LeClair, the city’s director of public works, to iron out details of where in the park to locate the pavilion and how big it should be. Mayor Bill Ingold said that a few weeks ago, he and LeClair met with Nava at the park and did just that.

According to Nava’s written proposal, the pavilion would benefit the park as it would “provide shade for the people who go there.” Nava said it also might “give more reasons to go” to the small park, which is located across from the Paxton Day Care Center along the north side of Holmes Street.

Nava said he plans to have the pavilion built by Nov. 7.

Nava said the pavilion — constructed out of lumber and featuring a tin roof, with a gravel floor — will cost about $1,500. Nava said the entire cost must be covered through fundraising, as required by the Boy Scouts of America for it to qualify as an Eagle Scout service project.

Nava said he is currently working to line up donations from area businesses in order to buy supplies, and he is also planning to apply for grants through Home Depot and Busey Bank. He said he may also set up a GoFundMe account to collect donations, as well.

Due to cost concerns, Nava said he has decided to scale down the size of the proposed pavilion from the 14-by-16-foot pavilion he had originally planned to build.

“We realized that 14-by-16 is huge,” Nava told the council.

Nava said the plan now is to build a pavilion similar in size to the one at Westlawn Park, which was built by another Eagle Scout a few years ago. The only difference, Nava said, is that it will be shorter.

“We decided that the height was a little too much,” Nava said.

Ten people will be recruited to help build the pavilion, Nava said, including friends, family members and other Boy Scouts. Council member Rob Steiger also offered his assistance, telling Nava he would help him obtain a generator to supply electricity for the workers to use when building it.

LeClair said he was on board with the project, noting that the pavilion and its location are not expected to interfere with any other planned improvements at the park, including new playground equipment.

Last November, aldermen voted to apply for a matching grant that would fund half of the $35,394 in estimated costs to buy the new playground equipment. The council set a limit of $20,000 for the city’s share of the cost. The new playground equipment would include four swings for a cost of $2,356, plus four swing seats at a cost of $848. There would also be a playground structure with slides and various climbing features.

Both LeClair and Ingold said the Howard Thomas Park gets used quite a bit.

“It does get quite a bit of use, especially by the day care center over there,” Ingold said. “There were a lot of kids playing there when we first showed up (at the park to meet with Nava a few weeks ago).”

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