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Two Boy Scouts tackle sheltering the Southern Tier

OPEN FOR BUSINESS — The shelter that J.P. Oatman constructed on South Cascade Drive is now available for use. Photo by Lizz Schumer.
SPRINGVILLE — Two local Boy Scouts are spreading their wings toward their Eagle Scout awards, with one’s having recently completed project and one with his still in the works.

J.P. Oatman of Springville recently finished building a shelter at the rest area on South Cascade Drive, north of the South Cascade and Miller Road Bridge over Cattaraugus Creek.

Oatman, a member of Springville Troop 524, said that be decided to build the shelter to give people a place to stop and take a break, as they travel north.

“The Kiwanis president came to me and told me about the shelter,” the Boy Scout explained, noting that the Kiwanis club had owned the shelters that his structure replaced. “I thought it would be a good thing to do, because it’s the first thing people see, when they come into town.”

The 12-by-20-foot shelter cost approximately $1,400 to build, and Oatman spent a year gathering donations, securing permits and planning construction, with help from local organizations and community members. Throughout that year, Oatman visited local clubs’ meetings, to present his project and ask for members’ support.

“I had a plan and a [display] board that I brought with me, to each meeting. I told them what I was planning to do and why I was planning to do it, then they discussed and voted on it, during their meetings,” Oatman said, about his process.

The Scout’s project received funding from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the VFW auxiliary, the Springville American Legion, the Springville Lions Club, the Springville Field & Stream, and the local fire company, as well as individuals. He purchased the materials from the House of Steel.

“I had a lot of help, from friends and family and my troop, as well as Jim Jowziak and Mike Fullington,” Oatman said, about the actual construction of the structure. The group worked during three weeknights, for several hours each, and all day on a Saturday, to erect the shelter.

“It started to rain, right after we finished,” Oatman said, with a laugh. “It’s a big relief, to be done. Now, people can come down and enjoy it.”

Brandon Sullivan, also of Troop 524, is working on his Eagle project, now.

Sullivan said that he plans to build a horse shelter at the Suburban Adult Services Inc. location in Sardinia, to protect the High Hurdles Therapeutic Riding Program animals from the elements.

“In the pasture, it’s all out in the open and there’s not a shelter. This way, the horses will be able to get out of the weather,” Sullivan explained. The shelter will be 24-by-40-by-8 feet.

House of Steel helped Sullivan draw up blueprints, with the measurements for the structure, and is also providing the materials, which will be paid for through donations from local clubs, organizations and individuals.

“I’m still working on gathering the money, then I can set a date,” Sullivan said, about the timeline for his project. The Scout needs about $5,000 to construct the shelter, and has about $3,000 in hand.

“I just want to get it done,” he said, but he added that he is optimistic about his progress and the resources he has gathered, so far.

“I have people from my Boy Scout troop helping me and my dad knows people who build pole barns and do construction, so I’m going to have lots of help,” the Scout concluded. “I’m excited to get started.”
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