Volunteers rehabilitate trail kiosks
A group of volunteers has just finished repairing the informational kiosks along the trails in Fairfield.
The volunteers rehabilitated the kiosks that were originally built by Doug Adams and his son Josh. One of the volunteers, Pete Tollenaere, said the kiosks had fallen into disrepair in recent years. One kiosk’s legs had become rotten, so the volunteers replaced them. In several others, the volunteers replaced the glass and tightened the wood panels to make them weatherproof.
At the time of the kiosks’ construction in 2005, Doug was teaching a woodworking class at Maharishi University of Management. His son Josh was in Boy Scouts and needed to complete his Eagle Scout project before he turned 18 in January 2006. Josh and Doug began talking with Ron Blair, then chairman of the Jefferson County Trails Council and now project manager of the kiosk rehabilitation, about ways to spruce up the trails in town.
“My son has been in my furniture shop since he was 3 years old, and he wanted to do something with woodworking,” Doug recalled.
When Doug and Josh decided to build kiosks, the university stepped in and offered to donate them to the trails council. With the help of students in Doug’s woodworking class, Josh coordinated the construction of four three-panel kiosks and three single-panel kiosks.
The large three-panel kiosks were installed at four locations: Lamson Woods, Maasdam Barns, North B Street near MUM and Pleasant Lake. At the time, the middle panel contained a map of the trails but the other two panels in all the kiosks were left empty … until this year.
The trails council had always envisioned adding educational graphics and text to the side panels but did not have the time and resources to do so until now. The side panels feature high quality photos and information about the town’s historical sites. Topics covered in the panels include Maasdam Barns, the history of the trails council, Lamson Woods, Neff Wetlands, the history of the city’s reservoirs, fish in Fairfield’s lakes, native prairie grasses, Whitham Woods and Bonnifield Lake.
The side panels were made possible by a donation from Dexter Laundry Inc. Paul Siemsen designed the side panels, which Blair said surpass the council’s wildest dreams about what the kiosks could become.
“People are really knocked out by the panels,” he said. “Paul did a superlative job on the design, using the highest quality photos and a beautiful font for the text. Everyone who has seen them has given them three thumbs up.”
Blair said he and Siemsen worked on the side panels for about three months. They used some submitted photographs and other photographs they purchased on the Internet.
One of the single-panel kiosks was installed in Chautauqua Park about eight years ago, but the other two single-panel kiosks have been kept in storage since their construction. Blair said the trails council wanted to wait to install the other two single-panel kiosks until the trails were finished and parking areas had been established. Those two single-panel kiosks have been brought out of storage and placed where the trail intersects Walton Road and North 23rd Street. The single-panel kiosks all contain a map of the trail.
“The maps are great because they give the trail users a perspective of the whole trail system,” Blair said.
All the kiosks contain boxes with paper maps inside.
Blair said he could not be happier about how the kiosks have turned out, and that all the time and effort that went into them have been well worth it.
“These enhancements are the fruition of something we planned many years ago,” he said.