Kenney Machinery Employees Build Peace Park with Help from Toro Dingo TX 1000

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Two employees of Kenney Machinery Corporation, an Indianapolis-based Toro turf equipment distributor, recently helped build a peace park on the south side of Indianapolis as part of a leadership training course offered by trueU.

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The Dingo was a huge help when it came to moving the patio base and mulch to all the places we needed to spread it”, said Kevin

For over a year, Kenney Machinery Corporation, a Toro turf equipment distributor based in Indianapolis, has been partnering with the local nonprofit organization trueU to help their employees develop leadership skills. As part of a leadership training course offered through that partnership, two Kenney Machinery employees recently had the opportunity to participate in a service project in a neighborhood on the south side of Indianapolis—a project that went much more smoothly thanks to some Toro equipment they brought with them.    

The project, which was coordinated by trueU and ProAct Indy (a local organization that helps economically disadvantaged youth participate in community outreach service projects), involved building a peace park at the Laurelwood Community, a public housing complex operated by the Indianapolis Housing Agency. In the past, Laurelwood was considered a dangerous and high-crime neighborhood in Indianapolis, but about 10 years ago they started partnering with local community agencies such as the Intercollegiate YMCA and the University of Indianapolis, and now the Laurelwood community has been lifted up as a national model for how to improve the conditions in similar communities.

The Kenney Machinery employees participating in the service project were Sales and Marketing Manager Kevin Koss and Controller Jon Treadway. They are enrolled in trueU’s Leaders in Training course, a six month program that involves both classroom work and hands-on experiences where they get to put into practice the leadership principles that they learn about. The project at the Laurelwood Community was one of those hands-on experiences. In addition to Kevin and Jon, there were 27 people from the course participating in the project, plus about 18-20 seventh and eighth graders from a local charter school.

The “peace park” that the project would build consisted of a labyrinth and picnic tables. As Kevin Koss described it, “The labyrinth we had to build was going to lie flat on the ground, with the ‘walls’ consisting of 850 painted bricks embedded in the ground. The materials for the project had already been prepared and delivered to the job site, and those consisted of the bricks, pre-cut sod, and a patio base. What we had to do was paint the bricks, excavate the area where the labyrinth would go, build a sort of berm with the sod, and then fill it in with the patio base.” He added that because there was only two days scheduled for the project, lots of coordination between all parties involved was required—hence, the opportunity to put his leadership skills to the test.

On the first day of the project, it was raining and storming heavily in the morning, so participants spent the time inside getting to know each other a little better. When the weather broke, everyone split up into three teams—one team to paint the bricks, an excavation and fill team to dig out the area for the labyrinth, and a team to assemble and stain five brand-new picnic tables. Kevin and Jon were assigned to the excavation and fill team.

Around that time, the sun came out and it became quite hot and humid. Because of all the rain, the patio base and mulch had soaked up a lot of moisture and it was very heavy. It needed to be carried from where it had been dumped to the location of the labyrinth, and also to various playgrounds around the community. That’s when Kevin thought to call the Kenney Machinery office and have them bring a Toro Dingo compact utility loader to the project site.

“The Dingo was a huge help when it came to moving the patio base and mulch to all the places we needed to spread it”, said Kevin. “We were using the wide track version of the Dingo TX 1000 with the standard materials bucket accessory, which has a capacity of 4 cubic ft. It was perfect for the task at hand, but even with the Dingo, there was still a lot of manual labor involving wheelbarrows, shovels, etc. It was very time-consuming, and if we hadn’t had the Dingo, I don’t know that we would have been able to complete the project in two days.”

Thanks in part to the timely arrival of the Dingo, the project was completed on schedule. “It was great to see a neighborhood of people coming out and looking at what was going on in their community, and seeing that they really did have a willingness to make it better with the help of people from outside the community”, Kevin said.

In the next part of the Leaders in Training program, the class will be split into two groups. One group will do a ropes course at Butler University while the other does a classroom session. The course is capped off at the end of August with a presentation and graduation ceremony.

About Kenney Machinery Corporation

Kenney Machinery Corporation is a turf equipment distributor providing sales and service throughout Indiana and Kentucky. Founded before the turn of the 20th century, the company has been a Toro distributor for over 70 years and has previously been recognized by Toro as the #1 turf equipment distributor in the country. Kenney Machinery currently supplies new and pre-owned turf equipment to golf courses, municipalities, sports fields, educational institutions and local dealerships throughout the region, and also helps customers maintain turf equipment using their unique Count On It Method™.

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