One community service project away from earning the rank of Eagle Scout, the loftiest a boy scout can attain, Phoenixville Area High School senior Joe Batemen will refurbish the Griffen Gun display case in Reeves Park.
Bateman, a proud member of Valley Forge’s Troop 73, pitched the project to the Phoenixville Borough Council at the body’s September 11 meeting. Starting in October, the 17-year-old will replace the existing cedar roof with asphalt shingles, repaint the border, and plant a garden around the display case. He will also clean the case’s interior, as well as the cannon itself, and spruce up the pair of Griffen Guns that sit on either side of the gateway.
“I have to say this is a well put together report. I would definitely support it,” said vice president Mike Speck.
Mayor Leo Scoda and borough manager E. Jean Krack each offered qualified endorsements of the project. Scoda said that, given the canons are Civil War relics, Bateman would have to coordinate their cleaning with the Historical Society, while Krack added a professional would have to remove the glass from the display case.
The council agreed that Bateman could move forward with the help of public works director Brian Watson.
The senior, who has until his 18th birthday on January 27 to complete the final component of his Eagle Scout bid, said he got the idea to fix the cannon case from a family friend—Mark Albert of the streets department—and has been working for the past six months to craft a repair plan.
While the plan is ambitious—he estimated in an information packet he provided the council that it would take 130-145 man-hours to complete—he’s confident he has the resources to get the job done.
“I have some experience in construction and my dad is a construction worker himself,” he told Patch, adding that he also knows some local roofers who can lend their expertise.
When the project is over in late fall, Bateman will join the elite rank of Eagle Scout.
“Only two percent of scouts make it,” he added, with warranted pride.