Columbia Scout Hut receives facelift

Tyler Wood, a member of Troop 320 in Columbia, stands outside the Scout Hut, where he built the ramp and sign as part of his Eagle Scout project. (Robyn Dexter photo)

In an effort to beautify Metter Park, a local Boy Scout went above and beyond for his Eagle Scout project.

Tyler Wood, a 16-year-old member of Troop 320 in Columbia, started thinking of ideas for his project nearly a year ago.

“About this time last year, we had a Scouting For Food drive at the Scout Hut in Metter Park,” he said. “We were all in front of the building and I started to notice how bad it looked.”

Wood said the handrail was practically falling over, to the point where people couldn’t lean on it.

“I started talking to my scout leader about it,” he said.

After reviewing the idea with scout leaders, family and friends, he decided to tackle an even larger project and build a handicap-accessible ramp for the hut.

“During its long history, this building has never been handicap-accessible,” he said. “Many people I talked to thought it would be great if I would be willing to build this much-needed ramp so it could be used by people with physical disabilities.”

The project turned out to be much bigger than Wood had anticipated, and he turned to his grandfather, Charles Gapsch of Charles Contracting, Inc., for advice and guidance on how to make his dream a reality.

“He helped tremendously with organizing and building itself,” Wood said.

After getting the approval from the Columbia city engineer and Mayor Kevin Hutchinson, Wood was ready to get to work.

Along the way, it was suggested to Wood that he make a sign to identify the building as the “Scout Hut” and to work on some landscaping in front of the building as well.

Wood’s project ended up costing about $1,000 plus the cost of the concrete, which was donated by the city for the ramp’s adjoining sidewalk.

He had one big work day with six helpers, along with several other days where he had a few helpers for smaller components.

“I could not have completed this project without the generous monetary donations from the businesses that responded to my letters asking for donations,” he said.

Wood was quick to mention all the people who helped him along the way, including several local businesses and the hours of work his friends, family and fellow scouts contributed to making his project a success.

“Everyone just loves it, from what I’ve heard,” he said. “My scoutmaster says it’s one of the best projects he’s seen in a long time.”

Wood just finished up with the concrete on his project a few weeks ago.

“People complimented me when they walked by while I was working,” he said.

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