Scout makes Chimney Park Eagle project

Reid Waters created this resting spot for folks who visit Chimney Park for his Eagle Scout project. - Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

Reid Waters created this resting spot for folks who visit Chimney Park for his Eagle Scout project. - Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

COVINGTON -- Reid Waters is the latest Boy Scout from Troop 222 to choose Chimney Park to benefit from his Eagle Scout project.

Waters recently completed work on a 10-foot-tall pergola that includes benches made of heavy, rough-hewn timbers. The pergola is located between the new multiuse trail and the maypole area at the park. Waters refers to it as "the resting point."

A 15-year-old freshman at Eastside High School, Waters hopes to attain his Eagle Scout rank by fall. He said he picked the park, located behind Newton County Library, as the site for his required project "because I knew it would impact the community."

Waters designed the pergola to be in keeping with the park's rustic flavor, as desired by Friends of Newton Parks.

"We the Friends of Newton Parks, Inc., envision Chimney Park as a peaceful urban woodland that attracts children and adults of all ages and abilities with community activities and elements that encourage passive play, exploration, imagination, quiet contemplation and respect for nature and history," said Jean Austin, chair of Friends of Newton Parks.

"Reid's pergola design fits perfectly with our vision for the park. The pergola gives visitors to the park a quiet place to sit and contemplate nature and history."

Waters estimates it took between 35 and 40 hours of construction time to complete the pergola, but many more hours of planning. He started the planning process in May 2012.

"The more hours you put into planning, the less hours you spend working," he said.

He had help from Sam Hay III, assistant scout master for Troop 222 and his coach for the project. Hay's son, Sam Hay IV, in 2011 constructed a bridge at the park for his Eagle Scout project. Waters assisted with that project.

"Reid is highly motivated. As his coach, I only had to give him some ideas about design and some pointers about construction," Hay said. "He came to our meetings well prepared with specific ideas about what he wanted to accomplish. I was most impressed that he knew exactly what he wanted to build and where he wanted to build it: a place for people to rest and enjoy in an environment that catered to everyone. Reid chose Chimney Park because of its mission to accommodate everyone, including those with mobility impairments. Part of the Eagle candidate's responsibility is coordinating volunteers; Reid had many adult and Scout friends whom he called on to help him."

Waters also enlisted the help of several other scouts and friends to complete the pergola. He has a workday planned for the entire scout troop to spread mulch at the pergola.

Waters said he has been involved in scouting "almost all my life."

"You get to go many places and meet so many people. You learn to be a great leader," he said. "It opens up opportunities for college and jobs and everything."

Sharon Waters said she encouraged her son to go ahead and get his Eagle Scout badge now so that he can focus on his studies in high school his few last years. Scouts must complete the process before their 18th birthday.

"It took a lot of hard work," she said. "It takes a lot of self-discipline to be able to do this, and I'm just real proud of him."