Scout’s Ea­gle project adds trail­side kiosk

The Norwalk Hour - - NEWS - By R.A. Schuetz rschuetz@hearst­medi­; @raschuetz

NOR­WALK — If you’ve been to Cran­bury Park over the past week, you might have no­ticed some­thing new. At the far end of the Great Lawn is a kiosk dis­play­ing a large map of the park’s trails. Its two posts of­fer brochures, and on both sides are benches for the weary park vis­i­tor.

On a re­cent sunny af­ter­noon, peo­ple walk­ing their dogs paused cu­ri­ously to look over map as Trevor An­der­son, a ju­nior at Nor­walk High School, sur­veyed his hand­i­work.

An­der­son is a Life Scout in Troop 14 of Nor­walk, and the kiosk project was his fi­nal step to­ward be­com­ing an Ea­gle Scout, Scout­ing B.S.A.’s high­est rank. The project was the cul­mi­na­tion of a year’s worth of plan­ning, fundrais­ing, co­or­di­na­tion with the city and work­ing to­gether with over two dozen friends and fam­ily.

“It’s re­liev­ing,” he said of fin­ish­ing the project. “Fi­nally.”

When An­der­son be­gan con­sid­er­ing what project he could un­der­take to im­prove his com­mu­nity, his first idea was to build bridges over the park’s wet­lands. But af­ter con­sult­ing with city’s se­nior en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer, Alexis Cherichetti, he re­al­ized that the wet­lands were sea­sonal.

“We de­cided it wasn’t a suf­fi­cient project be­cause it was only ben­e­fi­cial for one sea­son,” he said.

In­stead, Cherichetti sug­gested he con­sider build­ing a kiosk with a map of the trails. Tak­ing up the idea, An­der­son vis­ited other kiosks and looked up ex­am­ples on­line. He used the in­spi­ra­tion to draw up a plan with his dad for how to build his own.

Amem­ber of the march­ing band, he was no stranger to fundrais­ing, and he sent out a spon­sor­ship let­ter to friends and fam­ily and reached out to the lo­cal home im­prove­ment store, Ring’s End.

The re­sponse was more than he ex­pected — Ring’s End of­fered to do­nate $100 worth of ma­te­ri­als and low­ered prices for the project’s sup­plies, and he re­ceived so much fund­ing that he briefly con­sid­ered build­ing a sec­ond kiosk. How­ever, he re­al­ized the money wasn’t enough to dou­ble his project, and in­stead he used the money to add benches to the orig­i­nal de­sign.

On July 6, Re­cre­ation and Parks staff drilled holes for the posts; An­der­son and other vol­un­teers ar­rived at 4 p.m. to be­gin as­sem­bling the kiosk. The task stretched over three days — the group pulled roots and cut down a tree to make space, poured con­crete to se­cure the posts 42 inches into the ground, used a lad­der and the roof of a car to erect the kiosk’s roof, and sanded each and every piece of wood to pre­vent splin­ters.

“He did an in­cred­i­ble job,” said Ken Hughes, act­ing di­rec­tor of Re­cre­ation and Parks. “It’s a help be­cause the lo­ca­tion — where it’s in­stalled is where the trails break off.”

An­der­son still sees small im­prove­ments he needs to make — the bolts need to be trimmed, and he’s con­sid­er­ing adding a map to the other side and per­haps a plaque ded­i­cat­ing the kiosk to the park.

But for oth­ers, the kiosk is ready to use as is. While An­der­son con­sid­ered, a Nor­walk man who lives near the park, Dante Per­reca, stopped to take a closer look at the trail map.

“I saw them do­ing this last week. It’s a won­der­ful project,” Per­reca said with an ap­prov­ing nod.

“And that — ” he pointed at the bench “is a good idea.”

Alex von Kley­dorff / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Trevor An­der­son stands near the trail map kiosk at Cran­bury Park that he built for his Boy Scout Troop 14 Ea­gle Scout badge on Thurs­day in Nor­walk. Be­low, peo­ple walk the trail pass­ing the trail map kiosk.

A red trail marker on a tree along one of the trails.

Kids ride bikes on one of the trails at Cran­bury Park.

Dante Per­reca stops and looks at trail map kiosk.

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