A small housing development of about three dozen homes was constructed in the Cherrydale neighborhood of Steilacoom in mid-December.
Neither the Planning Department nor Preservation and Review Board approved the project. Nevertheless, the Town’s Building Inspector was on hand to ensure the builders met town regulations.
The crew of novice housing contractors (youngsters from Mrs. Dahl’s and Ms. Medina’s kindergarten classes) built their fragile community of graham cracker houses in about an hour’s time. The tiny shelters also were decorated for the season.
Jim Railey, Steilacoom’s building inspector, informally reviewed the stability of this new addition to the Town on Dec. 14.
His official checklist included inspecting footings, framing, foundation, plumbing, mechanical, and insulation. He resisted sampling the sweet mortar, although many of the kids enjoyed licking their fingers during the process.
Once the walls were up, the junior builders’ creativity took over as they trimmed their homes with marshmallows, candy canes, gumdrops and sprinkles. One builder added a second story to his house, while another had a Mediterranean look to it, Mr. Railey noted.
“I would rather work with these kids,” he said..
Working with the kids was a new experience for Mr. Railey; one he thoroughly enjoyed.
“They don’t argue with me. You don’t have to ‚Äòred tag’ these little guys like with grown-up contractors,” he added.
Mr. Railey was gifted with some gingerbread men and hot cocoa mix as the kids’ ‚Äòthank you’ for his time.
At the end of the house building session, Mr. Railey rated all the houses as “OK” for occupancy-as long as they were consumed by the end of the month!
Story and photo by Nancy Covert