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Boy Scout adds more benches on trail

Matthew Parker takes a break from his work of installing more concrete benches at several locations along the Centennial Trail in Arlington.  -
Matthew Parker takes a break from his work of installing more concrete benches at several locations along the Centennial Trail in Arlington.
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ARLINGTON Matthew Parker is reticent to brag on himself, but he's making some heavy contributions to the community, quite literally.

For his Eagle Scout project, 16-year-old Parker enlisted the aid of nearly a dozen of his peers in assembling six concrete benches, to be placed along Centennial Trail.

Cuz Concrete created the pre-ordered pieces, which Parker opted for after consulting with the city of Arlington. He and his team then had to do the heavy lifting of putting all pieces together themselves.

"Each bench weighs 425 pounds," Parker said. "The bottom is 245 pounds, the back is 120 pounds, and each of the ends are 60 pounds. We had to prepare the grounds where they would be placed, by digging up enough earth to fit 8-foot by 6-foot concrete pads where we'd attach the benches."

Parker cited the number of helping hands he received as one reason why it only took 30 minutes to assemble each bench, and two hours to dig each hole. The benches are being crane-lifted into their six locations, three around Legion Park, one by the cemetery, another at Gleneagle and the final one near 67th Avenue.

"They're concrete, so they'll last longer than I will," Parker laughed. "It was hard work to get them together, with all the screws lined up."

Parker sees his Eagle Scout project as a culmination of the lessons he's learned since joining the Boy Scouts of America 10 years ago. A member of Troop 81, Parker pointed to the importance of teamwork and leadership in achieving goals, but also encouraged scouts to make sure they have fun with it.

"I joined when I was in first grade and I loved it," said Parker, whose father was also in scouting. "For the past seven years, making Eagle has been my goal. It's the highest that you can shoot for. Enjoy what you do, but don't procrastinate."

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