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New Archery Range at Cuivre River State Park is a Step Closer to Completion Thanks to Union Volunteers
Troy, MO. — A major multi-phase recreational expansion project at Missouri’s popular Cuivre River State Park is one step closer to completion thanks to teamwork among the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), several union locals and a handful of nearby businesses.
Teams of union apprentices and instructors from the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 513 and the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association (OPCMIA) Local 527 recently completed earthwork and flatwork for a new archery range at the park.
“This is something that we’ve always wanted to expand on,” says Jason Harrison, Cuivre River State Park Superintendent.
Located near St. Louis and St. Charles metro areas, the park gets many visitors from those communities who come to be part of nature, he explains.
“One of the missions of the State Park system is to increase recreational opportunities for our cliental,” he says, “and one of those is the archery program we offer to various groups. We’ve used a temporary Kevlar backdrop for the program in the past, so a state-of-the-art archery range is a natural fit for the park.”
When completed in July the range will include five Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant shooting lanes with sheltered targets that progress from 10 yards to 50 yards, and an elevated shooting platform with its own set of targets. Wheelchair accessible sidewalks from the ADA-compliant parking lot will connect the shooting stations and targets, while another concrete walk will extend to the platform that includes a lower ADA-compliant shooting lane.
“All the work that’s been done, and will be done in the coming weeks, has been entirely donated by a workforce of union volunteers as part of the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) program,” says Sam Phipps, USA Conservation Programs Manager. “It’s our flagship program that utilizes union members who volunteer their time and trade skills to, among other things, improve public access to the outdoors.”
IUOE Local 513 Apprenticeship Instructors James Gibson and Joe Wallace, along with seven apprentice union members, spent four weeks moving earth, setting grade, compacting, backfilling and lending support to the cement masons. Overall, the equipment operators donated 400 hours of labor (valued over $20,000) to the project.
“Many of our union members are outdoorsmen themselves,” says Gibson, “so a project like this allows them to do something for the community that they’re also passionate about. It also benefits our apprenticeship program, I think, because it teaches young union members that it’s important to be active in their communities while providing valuable on-the-job training with an actual instructor present.”
Over two weeks’ time, OPCMIA Local 527 Apprenticeship Instructor Scott Downs had 20 Cement Mason apprentices building forms and setting metal mesh reinforcements and pouring concrete for the sidewalks and pilings for the elevated tower.
OPCMIA International General President Kevin Sexton and Vice-President Alise Martiny were on hand for the final pour, as were a group of students from nearby from Troy Buchanan High School who came to help and get hands-on training.
“They and their teachers jumped in to help my apprentices,” says Downs, “and at the same time got some exposure to the concrete mason trade.”
Ryan Meyers is the Lincoln County School District Career Coach and says Troy Buchanan High School has 250 students enrolled in its Construction Trades Program. As a comprehensive project each year, students in the program build a house from the foundation through to the interior finish work, then put it on the market.
“We had 25 students on-site at the archery range project, helping the apprentices pour and finish the concrete,” he says. “It was just a great, practical experience for our kids, and I think this partnership with the Concrete Masons is going to continue for some time.”
OPCMIA International donated all the concrete for the project and both its General President and Vice President were impressed with the outcome.
“Kudos to Scott Downs for taking this project,” says General President Kevin Sexton. “It takes a lot of effort to plan and coordinate something like this where the union gives back to the community and at the same time provides a training platform for the future workforce. Involving the high school students was a wonderful thing, too.”
“This was such a successful project,” adds Vice President Alise Martiny. “From the Missouri State Park System to the citizens of Troy to the apprenticeship programs and the students who worked on the job, it was a win-win for everyone. The volunteers did an outstanding job of making sure everything was covered, and that’s what organized labor and unions are about. We like to work for and with the community.”
In all, according to Downs, Local 527 volunteers donated 1,000 hours of labor, valued at $55,000.
Behind the scenes, other union locals and businesses have contributed greatly to the project so far, according to Sam Phipps.
“Magruder Limestone Co. was kind enough to donate 690 tons of screenings used for fill,” he says, “while Millstone Weber donated 80 tons of rock.”
Iron Workers Local 396 donated all the wire concrete reinforcement mesh as well as the rebar cages for the platform piers, he adds, plus materials for, and fabrication of, arrow quivers for all the shooting stations. Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 donated materials for and built bow hangers for the shooting stations, while the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District 59 covered the cost of painting the hangers and quivers.
Work on the project will be complete in July when volunteers from Carpenters Local 32 and Roofers and Waterproofers Local 2 construct the shooting platform and target shelters.
Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA): The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Work Boots on the Ground (WBG): WBG is the USA’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.
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