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West Chester resident’s Eagle Scout project greets hikers at Keehner Park

Post Date:04/27/2018 10:30 AM

Two new trailhead kiosks will greet visitors who hike and bike the creekside, wooded trails at Keehner Park this year thanks to the handiwork of a local high school student.   

Jack MacNeel, a resident of West Chester and senior at Lakota East, constructed two kiosks – one at either end of the 123-acre park on Barret Road in southeast Butler County – as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project. Jack is a member of Boy Scout Troop 974 and says this project brought his scouting activities full circle.

WC-web-Scout_6385Keehner Park is where my cross country team used to practice and where my Cub Scout Pack was based so I think it is really cool that I got to build something here that is going to last for a long time,” said Jack, who earned his first badge about 12 years prior as a Tiger Cub in the first grade.

Each trailhead kiosk is built with treated lumber, a corrugated metal roof, and a lockable glass-enclosed bulletin board. One is located at the entrance to the Mill Creek hiking trails on the west side of the park, near the amphitheater. The other is located at the entrance to the mountain bike paths on the east side of the park, near the basketball/tennis courts and ball fields. Each kiosk displays informational material and maps.

“Jack did an excellent job and we thank him for choosing to complete his Eagle Scout Service Project for the benefit of his hometown. It is evident when you see the trailhead kiosks that Jack is a hardworking young man who takes pride in what he does,” said Tim Franck, director, community services.

Initially, Jack wanted to build a footbridge across town at Beckett Park, the 150-acre property in the Union Centre area, but adjusted his plans after discussing ideas with Mr. Franck and township officials. The project was difficult, Jack said, because he had never built anything before and it challenged him to consult professionals, reach out to other Eagle Scouts, and research different trailhead kiosk designs.

“Mr. Franck and (administrative assistant) Laura Groff were so helpful,” Jack said. “Not only did they work with me to come up with an idea, but they were also supportive and helped see the project through. I really appreciate everything they did to help me.”

Jack began the project in late August 2017 and finished in mid-October after a number of work days were rained out. Other challenges encountered along the way involved digging holes 38 inches deep for the frames, bolting the frames together on-site, and assembling each roof off-site before installation.

“We continue to be grateful for the contributions of Jack, and neighbors like him, who so often volunteer their time and talents to keep West Chester and its parks beautiful,” Franck said.

After graduation, Jack intends to enroll at The Ohio State University to study international relations and diplomacy.

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