Noblesville City employees who gathered in the municipal government building’s two-story foyer on Friday, quickly discovered that constructing a bridge and downtown cityscape from canned food items and other nonperishables brings out the creativity, but it’s not as simple a task as it looks.
Just the day prior, thousands of canned food items were delivered to City Hall, with volunteers unloading the items in preparation for CanStruction Noblesville 2019.
This contest, exhibition and event showcases colossal structures made entirely out of full cans of food and built by six teams made up of architects, engineers, construction professionals, businesses, organizations and clubs.
Darren Peterson, downtown Noblesville architect, started CanStruction, in its seventh year. City Hall is the newest location for CanStruction, which is also on display in five other downtown Noblesville locations through Friday, Oct. 11, when Noblesville Trustee Office will disassemble displays and take the nonperishables to Noblesville and Hamilton County food pantries.
Mapping out my plan to visit all six CanStruction displays, I started with a 9:30 a.m. visit to City Hall, since the team was the newest to the CanStruction event.
Employees volunteered from each department, said Natalie Gossler, Noblesville, administrative assistant for the planning department, who spoke on the City’s behalf. “We came up with a bridge and cityscape at one of our meetings, and based on the donations and money received, we’re designing it as we go along today … We got a lot of canned donations. We didn’t plan on that.”
The design for the bridge and cityscape was a team effort, she said. About 15 employees participated from various departments throughout the city.
After looking at other examples online and much discussion, she said, the team decided to build Logan Street Bridge.
“You can’t get in and out of Noblesville without going on a bridge.” Gossler said.
They had a goal of getting 500 donated cans and the City raised more than $1,000 in monetary donations. Many canned food items came from Noblesville Kroger, at cost, as well as donations from throughout the community.
How did they decide what cans they needed? “We went by color. We asked for certain color donations, like green is huge, because we’re doing a lot of grass. We’re doing blue for the water....” They used about 400 green DelMonte cans of vegetables, about 200 jars of peanut butter with blue lids, for example. On Thursday, Gossler went to Kroger and spent $800 in donations to buy canned-food items. Some of the items, they had to physically shop from the store shelves.
City employees signed up to work shifts throughout the day.
Jaymie Thompson, Noblesville, is office manager for the engineering department, which was “tasked with helping build the initial design,” she said.
How did they decide what kind of canned food worked best?
“That’s a better question for Andrew than for me. I think he’s figuring it out right now,” Thompson said watching the staff engineer.
Employees watched as Noblesville City engineering department project manager Andrew J. Rodewald used a carpenter’s level to check the horizontal level between bridge supports made from canned food items, prior to the placement of a bridge made out of taped-together boxes of spaghetti, linking a “cityscape.”
One of the CanStruction rules is to “keep in mind, not only the beauty of what you’re trying to make but the purpose … making sure your items are really helpful to the public we serve.” Originally, they wanted to tape together boxes of sardines, as the bridge deck. “But how many people want to eat sardines?” she asked. “How many kids are going to sit down and eat a can of sardines?” Thompson said they had to “keep in mind what would be beneficial for the masses to eat.” They also used raisins, “that packed well in lunches for kids.” They stacked boxes of various cereal to represent the city.
They also thought a bridge was a good idea because the city’s new engineer, Alison Krupski, was a bridge engineer for Hamilton County before she came here. “We loved the idea of incorporating Logan Street Bridge,” Thompson said.
Brandon Bogan, Noblesville, vice president of reconstruction and design for Flaherty & Collins properties, and his Flaherty team, were at Texy Mexy creating a large “N” to celebrate Noblesville Schools’ 150th anniversary. “We created a design of what we were looking for, and then we went to Kroger and looked at all of the cans -- yellow cans, black cans, white cans -- and figured out the right sizes and and the right colors for the contrast …”
At Church Church Hittle & Antrim, CanStruction began at 6 a.m.,and was finished by the time that the law firm opened on the corner of Ninth and Conner streets, with a creation of the Courthouse from nonperishables.
At Martin & Martin Insurance the creation featured Canstruction Chateau Pooche. At Old Picket Fence, the creation was by team RZ Automation. At The Linden Tree, Noblesville Noon Kiwanis members created the Kiwanis logo, the iconic K, designed by Darren Peterson, a member of the club.
Peterson, a downtown architect and organizer of CanStruction Noblesville, on Thursday unloading donated canned items with the help of his wife, Jennifer Roberts, and other volunteers, in the alley next to Kirk Hardware in downtown Noblesville.
“We’ve had almost 35,000 cans donated” since he created CanStruction Noblesville, celebrating its seventh year.
“It’s the biggest event we’ve had.” While there are the same number of teams, there are more canned food donations this year.
“There are 4,000 cans ordered (from Logan Street Kroger), and almost 2,500 cans donated already,” he said Thursday before the event.
What did he mean by “ordered?”
Each team designed their CanStruction display ahead of time.
A program called, Sketchup, makes a model of what they want, and they turn in a can order, he said. Some people go to Kroger and lay the cans out in the aisles to get what they want. And then they place that order and tape it and put it all together, and the Trustee’s Office takes it apart and distributed it to food pantries in Noblesville and Hamilton County.
Each team is about five or six people, although the City had 15 And they spend two or three hours creating their display for the contest. Although the City employees spent a little more time, since they were first-timers.
Each location is still accepting canned food donations through this Friday, when Noblesville Trustee Office will disassemble displays and take to Noblesville and Hamilton County food pantries.
“People can come around and make donations and vote for your favorite. We still take canned donations, we take financial contributions, anything to help the food pantries,” he said.
Why Peterson started CanStruction? “I didn’t realize one of the wealthiest counties in the country, how much hunger and how much hunger anxiety is really a problem,” he said. “We have 42 food pantries in Hamilton County, and it’s a real need.”