Operation Bench Drop

If you haven’t noticed yet, there are some extra places to “take a load off,” and to “smile & sit a while,” in Northeast Brainerd.  With four standard shipping pallets and twelve screws, we were able to provide two new benches in the neighborhood. 

We started by asking the generous folks at Cub Foods if they had any old wooden shipping pallets available to donate.  They obliged, and provided us with seven (we only asked for four) pallets to make benches. 

Between two people and about an hour of time, we were able to transform four pallets into two benches.  Making the benches was as easy as removing a couple of the top boards from each of the pallets and standing one pallet vertically for the backrest and sliding another into it to for the seat.  We popped a couple of screws in for extra support and voilà, the benches were created.

 

We decided to place the benches in “Operation Dumbo Drop” (for those that don't know, this is a 1995 children's movie reference) like fashion.  We went out into the neighborhood one afternoon to scout out ideal locations for the benches.  The following day, we went out at lunch hour and placed the benches in places that had some pedestrian traffic but nowhere to “take a breather.” 

As we were “dropping” the benches, one passerby commented, “Hey! That’s a great idea for recycling pallets.  I like it.”  In another location, an employee of a nearby business said that “The neighborhood could use more benches like that.”

The goal here is not to scatter the neighborhood with wooden pallet benches, but to demonstrate that a minor investment (in this case, $0), can set the stage for a more significant investment (nice, well-made benches).  It also shows that a very small scale projcent can have a positive impact on the neighborhood.  This method is called “Tactical Urbanism,” and it is successfully being used across the county for a variety of projects.