In 2019, Johan Kronberg from Pargas, Finland, approached Tarmo Tuominen, a member of Nordkalk’s Management Team at the time, with an idea to build fitness stairs on a side stone heap in Nordkalk’s quarry area.
There had been discussions on how to utilise the heap throughout the years in the town as well as in the company, and so Tuominen thought building fitness stairs is a great suggestion. Also the Management Team at Nordkalk got wholeheartedly on board with the idea. One could turn a part of the old quarry area into something that would benefit the entire community. The fitness stairs would offer physical activity with a twist of culture, not to mention magnificent views over the quarry from a new angle even for the townspeople. Nordkalk decided to support the project by giving access to the land area needed for the stairs. In addition to this, Nordkalk participated in the financing of the construction work.
Hat off to the spirit of volunteering!
But how to build fitness stairs in an active quarry area taking into account the safety of the people using the stairs and that of the quarry? Safety is of utmost importance to Nordkalk, so naturally it was imperative to Nordkalk that the area will be safe and carefully separated from the quarry area.
About 200 volunteers worked for about 2000 hours on the construction site. The area was fenced in, the stairs got lighting and a CCTV system was installed for the safety of the stairs and people.
”It was incredible to see the great volunteering spirit there still is in the town of Pargas,” praises Tuominen.
The stairs have been really well received by the community. People are happy that the side stone heap has been put to good use, and Nordkalk has enjoyed the positive publicity and the good feedback from people. About 500 people have climbed up and down the stairs daily since the opening.
Nice display of cooperation
”We are very, very pleased with the fitness stairs, and not only because the project is a nice display of how an industrial company and the surrounding community can cooperate for the good of the entire community. Our own people in Pargas have also found their way to the stairs and exercise on them on their own as well as with their colleagues”, says Mikael Furu, Executive Vice President, Nordkalk Northern Europe.
“ The best bit has been to see how people from all age groups have found to the stairs. Pupils from the nearby schools run them up and down during exercise lessons. An elderly person from Pargas used to come regularly to the stairs with their walking aid through the entire autumn season, they started by climbing the first 50 steps, then 100 steps and by the end of the season, they climbed all the 470 steps to the top”, says Tuominen.
All the people on the stairs are not local. People from outside Pargas have started to come to the town to test the stairs, and admire the views and the art at the top of them. One man’s dream grew into an exercise location that brings joy and is good for the entire town and its inhabitants.
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