By Jessica Mathews /

A local boy scout has plans to construct a gaga ball pit to provide additional recreational activities in the City of Howell.

The City was approached by Boy Scout Eric Koons with Troop 362, who is currently working toward achieving his Eagle Scout rank. The 15-year-old freshman at Howell High School made a presentation about the proposed project at West Street Park at a recent City Council meeting.

Koons said it’s really fun and something he plays all the time. It’s growing in popularity and he told Council there was a pit at his old elementary school, there’s one at Bishop Lake and usually a pit at all of the summer camps he attends.

Koons described it as a fun, interactive game similar to dodgeball in that if a player is hit below the knees, they’re out. As for benefits to the public; he said it allows kids to play gaga ball in a safe designated area, will increase visitation to West Street Park and provide more opportunities for physical activity.

Koons said his role will be designing, leading, planning and coordinating construction of the pit as well as fundraising. The pit will be a wooden octagon fastened with metal brackets, 20-feet in diameter with 30-inch walls, and cemented into the ground. The inside of the pit will be filled with compact sand and grass seed will be planted around the outside once finished.

The project was well-received by staff and Council, which approved the plans. Members stated they were impressed with the presentation and diagrams and felt it was a good location and a great idea to improve the park.

Councilwoman Jan Lobur commented that gaga ball is the newest thing and kids talk about it at school all the time. She said it’s a really big deal and in some cases, for students misbehaving, their punishment is not being able to play.

As of now, players would need to provide their own ball. Koons said a soccer ball or volleyball can be used.

Mayor Bob Ellis offered a few friendly suggestions, including possibly putting a QR-code or plaque to explain the rules and how to play. He said Koons could maybe talk to the Howell Carnegie District Library, which loans out equipment, about having a supply of balls to check out – as well as the Recreation Authority about tournaments.

The cost is estimated at $2,000 and construction would last roughly 2-3 days. Koons said the timeline would be to raise funds by May and hopefully get everything done by July 1st.