SOUTH HOLLAND | For Zachary Yovich, the project that has consumed a significant part of his life for the past two years has come to an end.
Yovich, a member of Lansing-based Boy Scout Troop 276, has spent that time building a replica of a covered wagon as used by the original white settlers of what are now the south suburbs.
That replica was delivered on Friday to the Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton Ave., and will be part of the festivities on Sunday when the nature center holds its 40th annual Settlers Day festivities.
There will be a rededication of the pioneer cabins at the nature center to mark the restoration efforts that have occurred there. Yovich’s covered wagon — which was his service project to become an Eagle Scout — will become a permanent part of that display.
Yovich and others in his Boy Scout troop, along with select interests such as Rotary Club and the Edward Schulz Post 697 of the American Legion in Lansing, helped to raise the roughly $2,500 needed to complete the project. Most of that money went toward the purchase of wood.
Michael Bergin, a committee member with the Boy Scout troop, said that part of the reason the project took so long was because the wood had too much moisture and had to air-dry for nearly nine months before Yovich could start the intricate work of cutting it into the pieces needed to assemble the wagon.
Bergin said the most complex part of the project was in reproducing the axles for the wagon, which he said had to be “sculpted” to a precise size.
But Bergin said that troop officials were pleased with the end result, particularly since the wagon will not be a temporary display.
“This is going to be around for many years,” he said. “This will be a lasting project.”
Yovich was not available on Friday to comment on his project. However, in September, at ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Sand Ridge Nature Center, he said he took on the project because "I wanted to give people an idea how it felt to travel back then.”
Sunday’s Settlers Day ceremonies are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with speakers at noon. Among those invited to speak are Arnold Randall, general superintendent of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.