When Lincolnville city officials were looking for someone to build a bridge over a drainage ditch in the city park, they contacted Centre High School.
Teacher Yvonne Burhoop knew 13-year-old Braxton Smith was looking for an Eagle Scout project and recommended him.
Braxton was up to the challenge. He looked at a similar bridge and measured the dimensions. Burhoop helped him sketch a design on graph paper. He submitted the draft to a representative of the Eagle Scout board in Salina.
Over the course of three visits, the supervisor helped Braxton improve the project, adding landscaping and concrete footings to each end of the bridge. Braxton calculated and ordered the materials needed to build it.
Braxton and six other Scouts in his church-affiliated Boy Scout Troop 19 in Salina built the bridge in Minneapolis. It was transported to Lincolnville on a trailer, where it was put in place. Centre Girl Scout leader Deb Casey selected native plants and helped Braxton place them at the four corners of the walkway.
Made of treated lumber, the walkway is five feet wide to accommodate people in motorized wheelchairs. A metal plaque on the bridge lists the name of the project, his name, and the date of installation.
Braxton said several adults helped with the project including his parents, Brian and Kim Smith.
“I learned responsibility, how to make good plans, and how to be a leader,” he said. “I did a lot of the drilling. Most of the other scouts didn’t know how to use a drill.”
Braxton will be an eighth-grader at Centre Middle School. His interest in the bridge is ongoing. It is his responsibility to water the plants and get them established.
He will present the bridge project to the Eagle Scout board for its approval, and Braxton plans this summer to earn the last three of 16 merit badges that are required to become an Eagle Scout.