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Teen's effort benefits Aspinwall Marina project

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, 9:00 p.m.
Che Esh climbs a ladder as he and friends Sam Morrison, Kriston Penner and Ted Uminski worked on a shed at the Aspinwall Marina.
The Herald
Che Esh climbs a ladder as he and friends Sam Morrison, Kriston Penner and Ted Uminski worked on a shed at the Aspinwall Marina. Submitted

Aspinwall teenager Che Esh sacrificed his weekend to rebuild a shed at the Aspinwall Marina but the impact on the park reaches beyond aesthetics.

“One of our goals is to create a park that is self-sustaining,” said Susan Crookston, who last year spearheaded the $2.3-million fundraising effort to buy the eight-acre site along the Allegheny River and now is co-managing the property.

“By renovating this shed, Che is helping us create an ongoing revenue stream for years to come.

“We can rent it for canoe and kayak storage or we could put concessions out on the dock so that passing boaters could drop by and grab a soft drink or quick bite.

“Che's work is a lasting gift to our community.”

The Aspinwall Marina is in the midst of a $2.7 million development that includes walking trails, stone piers, playgrounds and picnic areas.

Che, a freshman at Fox Chapel Area High School, pitched the shed renovation as a way to earn his Eagle Scout badge, but it's not the first time the teen helped with the project.

When Crookston first began the fundraising, many people devised creative ways to pitch in.

Che started his own lawn care business.

He solicited customers throughout his Delafield Road neighborhood and charged $15 for each cut. He donated proceeds to the park.

“What's happening here is a special thing,” Che said of the project to maintain the marina as a public green space. “It's a great chance to be a part of a community effort.”

It was a natural step for Che to consider the marina for his Eagle Scout project.

A member of Troop 380 out of the Fox Chapel Episcopal Church, Che approached Crookston about possibilities for work at the site.

They decided he would target an existing shed, about 12-feet-by-16-feet, to rehab.

It sits just off the entrance to the property and required a lot of elbow grease to restore, said David Esh, Che's dad.

“It has rotted wood. It needed a new roof, new paint and trim,” he said. “(Che) has been working since spring to secure approvals and estimates.”

The project is expected to cost about $1,500, an amount that was fronted to the project but now Che is responsible for recouping through fundraising.

Work began in August and culminated this weekend with a group effort between some mentors and friends who helped shingle, trim and paint.

“It's reached the exciting part because now, instead of taking it apart, they're putting it back together,” David said.

Che said the thought of a lasting improvement for the community buoyed him.

“I want to be part of this special thing for Aspinwallers,” he said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at

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