FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- Life Scout Logan Roliff of Boy Scout Troop 269 in Aurora recently completed his Eagle Scout project at Towner's Woods near Kent and Twin Lakes, managed by the Portage Park District.
The Portage Park District conserves important natural areas and creates parks and trails for public use and enjoyment. It partners to improve the health and quality of life in communities throughout the county while realizing economic benefits.
Portage Park District manages about 1,300 acres of parkland and more than 14 miles of hiking and biking trails, including more than 230 acres at Towner's Woods, which provides visitors with hiking trails from easy to strenuous that travel through rolling hills, meadows and wetlands.
The park also has a picnic shelter, sledding hills and gazebo.
In addition to earning merit badges and being a leader in his troop while a Life Scout, to become an Eagle Scout a Boy Scout must plan, execute and lead a service project that benefits others in the community. He also has to find a way to fund the project.
After meeting with Portage Park District Executive Director Christine Craycroft, Roliff found there was a need for benches along some of the trails at Towner's Woods.
He set out to build four heavy duty "elephant benches" throughout the park with beautiful views of the area, including two overlooking Lake Pippen. They are designed and built to withstand extreme wear and tear.
"I chose to do my project for the Portage Park District because its park system is very popular and it has actively benefited the public for a long time," he said.
"I DECIDED to install benches in Towner's Woods because it is a beautiful park, and I wanted people to be able to relax along the paths and enjoy the view."
This isn't the first time the Portage Park District has been the beneficiary of an Eagle Scout project.
"We've had a number of Eagle Scout projects throughout our system, and we look forward to many more. It's a great learning opportunity and it improves the parks at the same time; doesn't get better than that," Craycroft said.
Roliff worked with Ruby Tuesday's to raise funds through the restaurants' community giveback program. He also received assistance from the Aurora One Fund.
He led a team of more than 20 volunteers who donated about 200 man hours to build and install the benches. Roliff worked to organize Scouts, leaders and other adults and learned the importance of working with others to make the job easier.
Since the benches were being built on hiking trails, the materials had to be carried by hand to the building site, about a mile from the nearest road.
"Logan did a terrific job coordinating the project with the Park District and his troop, and I'm sure folks will appreciate having new places to rest along the trail and take in the beautiful views," said Craycroft.
Roliff is the son of Chris and Debbie Roliff of Aurora and is a junior at Aurora High School. Troop 269 meets on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
To learn more about Boy Scout Troop 269, visit www.troop269.org or call Scoutmaster Dave Stafford at 330-995-0277.