Aaron Laughlin, a member of Macon Boy Scout 81 noticed a lot of walkers and electric wheel chairs on business Highway 36 trying to go from the senior citizens housing to the shopping center.
Aaron talked to some of the residents who lived in the senior housing and found that many were walking on the grass to travel to the stores to do their shopping.
Aaron contacted MoDOT and found that the area had a high rate of accidents.
“I saw the need for a sidewalk to help minimize the dangers to those walking on the road,” said Aaron.
Aaron received approval from Troop 81 Committee Members and the Boy Scout District Council in LaPlata to pursue the idea for his Eagle Scout Project.
Since the sidewalk would cross MoDOT right-of-way, Aaron was required to seek professional drawings from an engineering firm.
Many changes were required during the process leading up to the building of the sidewalk.
“More requirements had to be met for MoDOT and the Association of Disabled Americans (ADA),” said Aaron.
Aaron went to the Macon City Council and Macon County Economic Development to see about the possibility of grants to help fund the sidewalk project.
“The city council requested sign-off signatures from the property owner, MoDOT and the contractor, for the project” said Aaron.
Aaron ran into a problem when he researched to find the owner of the property for the original location of the sidewalk. He found the owner to be a holding company in New York.
“After several calls to New York and Bentonville, Ark. they decided to bow out of this project,” said Aaron.
Aaron then went to Jack Davison and received permission to build the sidewalk on his property.
After two and a half years of negotiations on drawings, dealings with ownership, research and meetings Aaron was awarded a $5,000 grant from Macon Economic Development that was applied for by the Macon City Council.
R.A.I.L. (Rural Advocates for Independent Living) agreed to donate $520 for truncated domes for the visually impaired to meet A.D.A. standards.
On Sept. 24, MoDOT began to cut the sidewalk curb. The first week of October the actual construction of side walk began.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 81 and other volunteers helped clean up rocks, pull forms, sow seed and spread straw.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 26, Macon Mayor Dale Bagley said, “This kind of project exemplifies the kind of work and cooperation that goes on in Macon.”
Aaron says he has received positive feedback from several people that have made use of the new sidewalk.
Aaron is a senior at Macon High School and the son of Joe and Terri Laughlin of Macon.
Page 2 of 2 - “I couldn’t have done it without the help of my family, friends, and community,” he said. “I’m proud to be a Boy Scout.”
Did you know?
The Eagle Scout rank is the highest award in Boy Scouting.
Less than three percent of scouts complete the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout.