BELLVILLE — A Clear Fork High School junior is on his way to getting his Eagle Scout award in the Boy Scouts.
And he is doing it by contributing to the beauty of downtown Bellville.
Alex Brown, 17, has completed refurbishing and decorating eight trash cans along Main Street.
The idea for his project is also to magnify what people know about the history of certain downtown buildings. Each redecorated trash can has a sign on the back, which talks about the history of one downtown building.
Brown said his favorite finds in his project are the history of the buildings housing Whitey’s, the barber shop, which has a long presence in the village. He also is fond of the history he discovered in the Stoodt’s Market building.
The Whitey’s building was once a community house and a library. The Stoodt’s building was a clinic where some “non-conventional medicine” was practiced, said Brown.
The patients there were being treated for tuberculosis, he said.
The Eagle Scout designation is the highest rank a Boy Scout can obtain.
He has had to work with others on the project. The trash cans he is redecorating are put out by the Lions Club.
The Lions Club paid for the signs, which carry their logo. Brown took care of the cost of the historical markers, he said.
Brown had to put together a “project synopsis,” with photos, logistics and associated information. The project information must contain signatures of the scout master, the Eagle Scout counselor, a representative of the Lions Club and a committee chairman.
He decribes the signs as “unique historical markers.” He had help in getting information from the Jefferson Township Bellville Historical Society. They contributed $100 to the project.
Other buildings used as inspiration for the project include the old Jefferson Township fire station, the Wishmaker and the band stand in Central Park.
The signs measure 12×8 inches. All were custom made by Sasco, in Mansfield and Lucas.
The process of getting the signs done started with adults power washing the wooden frames. Brown said he and his friends sanded the wood. The metal frames were cleaned. Then primer was applied and gloss paint was applied.
The cost of the signs is $500.
Brown said he hoped the project would be completed by now, but that is not the case. He said through a miscommunication, not enough signs were ordered. Eight more still need to be done, he said.
Brown, the son of Clear Fork principal Brian Brown, said he received a lot of help from Ryan Wine, who works for the village. He said he is “proud of the progress” and he thinks all should be done in about one week.
Brown must get two more merit badges, probably in camping or swimming.
The goal is to be well rounded in getting the Eagle Scout designation, he said. An Eagle Scout has to focus on planning and leadership and should have a “very mature outlook.”
In school, Brown has participated in academic challenge, the speech team, band and history club.
He has not decided what he will pursue in college, or where he wishes to study.
He is interested, he said, in music and engineering.
He visited Ohio University, where his sister studies. He said there he heard “killer music” coming from their “amazing marching band.”
He also cares about engineering because he has a “knack for mathematics,” he said. Plus, he likes to create things.
He explained how he once made a “goofy pully system” which he would use to pull up his brother.
“That’s the reward,” Brown said of being able to create things.
He said he looks up to people who have gotten the Eagle Scout honor. They include Matt Arnold, who is a senior at Clear Fork.
“Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout,” he said.