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Murrysville

Eagle Scout projects a plus for Murrysville, Export, Delmont

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, November 12, 2014 9:01 p.m.
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Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Stephen Hiler of Murrysville, with Troop 208, sits on one of the handicap-accessible picnic tables he built for the Miracle Field in Murrysville as an Eagle Scout project on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.
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Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Stephen Hiler of Murrysville, with Troop 208, sits on one of the handicap-accessible picnic tables he built for the Miracle Field in Murrysville as an Eagle Scout project on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.

Murrysville Mayor Bob Brooks can’t remember what his Eagle Scout project was, but as he drives around town, he gets a daily reminder of what an enduring legacy the service project can provide.

“My sons were both Eagles, and one of them built the entrance sign for Murrysville Cemetery,” Brooks said. “That was probably two decades ago, and it still looks great.”

Eagle, the highest Scouting rank, is attained only after the completion of a service project that, according to the “Boy Scout Handbook,” “is helpful to any religious institution, any school or your community.” According to the Westmoreland Fayette Council of Boy Scouts, more than 300 boys in the Murrysville, Delmont and Export areas belong to the six locally chartered troops, and Brooks estimated about eight troop members per year attain the rank of Eagle.

Many Eagle projects benefit their communities as a whole. In several cases, the work fulfills a function that municipal governments cannot, despite the best wishes of officials.

“It’s a win-win for us,” Export Councilwoman Melanie Litz said. “We get improvements to the community that we’d like to do but that can’t always take priority.”

Kenneth Koehn from Boy Scout Troop 205, which is chartered through Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church, recently made his pitch to Murrysville Council to build a bridge and path to connect Murrysville Community Park with the Rotary Miracle Field complex.

Brooks said it’s the perfect illustration of something municipal officials would love to build — but they cannot prioritize it over more-pressing matters.

“What we count on in our parks is volunteers,” Brooks said. “They clean the parks, they clear out the invasive species, but they can’t build the bridges. That’s what the Scouts do, and that’s what really gets the trail system connected and used regularly.”

A 2012 project by Scout Andrew Mejia connected the dog park at Murrysville Community Park with the trails that lead to Scouting Knob, a spot Scouts frequently use for camping.

Other projects have resulted in the construction of a pedestrian bridge in Pedora Park and a trail leading from Bear Hollow Park to Pin Oak Court.

On the horizon for Murrysville is Koehn’s proposal for a pedestrian bridge. Brooks loves the idea.

“Last year, we had a program at the (veterans) monument in the park, with a ball game after at the Miracle Field,” he said. “Today, the monument is in one spot, and then you have to go all the way around (the woods) to get to the field. When this is complete, you’ll be able to just take the bridge (and path) right to the field.”

In addition, once people arrive, they’ll be able to take a seat at tables and benches accessible to people with disabilities that were built in 2012 as part of Scout Stephen Hiler’s Eagle project.

In Export, a footbridge over Turtle Creek that washed away during a flood in 2007 was rebuilt as an Eagle project.

A team of Scouts currently is working on an Eagle project involving landscaping and other improvements at the former Lutheran church on Roosevelt Avenue.

Litz said other proposals include an entrance sign for J.M. Hall Jr. Community Park, the development of historical markers, playground improvements and more.

Brooks — who already has offered to pick up the tab on the first $500 worth of materials Koehn will need for his project — would like to find a tangible way of thanking the Scouts.

“We enjoy these projects, but we don’t always thank the Scouts,” Brooks said. “What I’d like to do is establish a monument at Scouting Knob with plaques noting all of the projects associated with the municipality.”

The monument would be a way to recognize the work the Scouts have done, he said.

“I think they fill a need that wouldn’t be filled otherwise,” he said.

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2365 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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