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Unity Boy Scout makes improvements to 5 Star Trail

| Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes I For Trib Total Media
Boy Scout James Weaver, 16, of Unity puts the finishing touches on the planter and the sign border that he built along the Five Star Trail for his Eagle Scout project.

Bikers, hikers and joggers using the Five Star Trail will benefit from a project undertaken by James Weaver, 16, a Greater Latrobe High School junior.

The Unity teen is seeking to become an Eagle Scout, the highest ranking attainable through the Boy Scouts of America.

Weaver, a member of Troop 478 who has been a Scout for 10 years, is working on the hiking and biking trail that runs from Lynch Field in Greensburg to Armbrust, covering slightly more than 7 miles.

“I contacted the Westmoreland Parks and Recreation and inquired if there was something that I could do as my project,” Weaver said.

Jeff Richards, parks planning coordinator for Westmoreland County, said he was happy to help. “I went to one of the meetings of the Five Star chapter and told them what he wanted and they kicked around some ideas for him to do,” Richards said.

Weaver was then given two assignments — to build a new wooden planter around the sign at the trail head just off the grounds of the Youngwood campus of Westmoreland County Community College and to devise four new gates along the trail.

”The four metal gates were put up years ago and they have not only aged, but they are 10 feet wide” and can't accommodate some mowing equipment, Richards said. “He will be installing 12-foot gates that should rectify that problem.”

Weaver then went to work, tackling the planter project first.

“I started in March,” he said. “I worked on the plans and figured out what I needed to do.”

Weaver applied for grants from the Five Star Trail Chapter of the Regional Trail, the Trail Volunteer Fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Westmoreland Parks and Recreation Citizen Advisory Board.

The grants totaled $1,320.

Weaver lined up a donation from The Home Depot-Greensburg along Route 30 in Hempfield and product discounts from O.C. Cluss Lumber in Hempfield, New Stanton-based Proscape Landscape Supply and Tractor Supply Co. in Unity.

Then he lined up a crew of volunteers to help with the tasks.

Troop Leader James Weaver said that his son's project is a classic project for an aspiring Eagle Scout.

“From the planning to the building, he learned a little bit about everything. And that is what the whole process is supposed to be about,” the leader said.

“We are really proud of him,” said Suzy Weaver, the Scout's mother.

The entire Weaver family has enjoyed using the trail for years.

“From now on, whenever we pass here, I can say that this was something that I was able to do for the community,” Weaver said. “People were driving by when we were finishing the planter and said how nice it looked and they thanked me.”

Weaver plans to finish installing the gates by September.

“He did a nice job and, if any other Scouts are looking for projects, they should contact the Five Star Trail or any other trails in the area for project ideas,” Richards said. “There are a lot of opportunities and a lot of great things that can be done.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.