Eagle Scout projects have been the source of new amenities at three public areas in Hilliard.
Ben Joyce built a ga-ga ball pit at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive; Colin Pawletzki installed a bicycle-repair station at the Heritage Rail Trail entrance off Center Street in Old Hilliard; and Seth Walczak added three benches to Darby Glen Park in the Darby Glen neighborhood off Leap Road.
The projects were planned, managed and completed by each teenager.
Joyce, 17, is a freshman at Columbus State Community College and a 2018 graduate of Dublin Coffman High School.
"I joined Cub Scouts when I was 5 and continued to Boy Scouts. My dad is the one who started me (in scouting) but I decided to stick with it because of the life skills you can learn from it," Joyce said.
Joyce chose the project, he said, to provide children attending Hilliard's summer camp at the municipal park an opportunity to play the game he enjoyed at scout camps in an "upgraded pit." Ga-ga is a variant of dodgeball in which players hit a ball at each other with their hands and are eliminated if the ball strikes them on or below the knee; the game is played in a "pit."
"I used wood composite walls so it would last longer in outdoor weather and it's safer because kids won't get splinters while playing," Joyce said.
It took about 90 man-hours to complete the project and it did not go as smoothly as planned, Joyce said, with weather delaying its completion.
The pit will be used for public recreation but specifically for camps conducted by the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department, said Hayley Bush, a recreation supervisor.
Joyce also raised about $1,200 for the recreation and parks department.
Pawletzki, 16, is a sophomore at Hilliard Bradley High School.
"After seeing some of the bike-repair stations in other cities, I thought it would be beneficial for the Heritage Trail to have one," Pawletzki said.
The bike-repair station includes a tire pump and a variety of tools to help make basic repairs and adjustments to bicycles, said Beth Simon, programs director for the recreation and parks department.
Pawletzki solicited financial help from the Rotary Club of Hilliard and the Knights of Columbus, and volunteers from school clubs helped beautify the park's entrance where the station was installed, he said.
Walczak, 16, is a junior at Hilliard Davidson High School. Walczak said he chose to improve Darby Glen Park in the subdivision in which he lives.
He enlisted the help of 23 volunteers, who performed 97 man-hours of work, to build three 7-foot benches, finished with nameplates, along the multiuse walking path at the park.
Lowe's discounted the concrete, mulch and other materials the project required, Walczak said.