A visible fixture in the city’s newest park recently received a makeover thanks to a Hendersonville High School student’s Eagle Scout service project.  

HHS junior Ben Gittins recently enlisted the help and donations from friends, family, church members and local businesses in order to spruce up the old barn on the former Batey Farm. 

The city bought the 35-acre property in May 2018. The purchase was made in conjunction with the grassroots non-profit group Friends of the Indian Lake Peninsula (FOFILP) who bought an adjoining 38 acres at about the same time. 

Gittins, a member of Boy Scout Troop 440, contacted FOFILP board member Jeremy Krejci to see what work was needed on the property. Krejci has been working closely with city Parks Director Andy Gilley to coordinate volunteers for various projects. 

Krejci, who planned and coordinated last year’s event at the park, Hiking the Hill, said he wanted to address a few things ahead of this year’s event - including sprucing up the old barn on the property. 

Before the barn could be painted, foliage needed to be removed with help from parks department maintenance staff, Krejci noted. Then Gittins replaced the missing boards and fixed doors on the barn before enlisting volunteers to apply primer and three coats of paint. 

“Ben did an excellent job of getting volunteers and directing the project to its completion,” said Krejci.

Gittins said around 50 volunteers put in 250 work hours to help with painting and barn repairs that included replacing exterior missing boards and fixing broken doors.

In addition, the Boy Scout raised $900 to buy paint, primer, lumber, and other supplies.

Sherwin Williams and Home Depot gave large discounts, and MBM Pro Washing did the pressure washing for free, Gittins noted.  

“Their contribution helped a lot,” he said.

Gittins, whose troop is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said directing the service project has taught him a lot about leadership and asking for help. 

“Throughout this, the project kept getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “It started out very small - cleaning up the brush around it - and then it turned into putting four coats on, so it’s been interesting to see its progress and also working up the courage to ask people to donate money. Everyone that I asked did donate, but working up the courage to do that was hard.”

He said he hopes to submit the paper work to receive his Eagle Scout rank, the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank, early next year. 

Gilley said Gittins’ efforts were sorely needed. 

“It needed to be cleaned up and restored,” said Gilley. “It was a big deal to get all of that cleaned up.”

Krejci noted that Gittins is the second Eagle Scout project done on the park property with several others in the works. 

“Anything they want to do we’re certainly glad to have them help,” said Gilley. 

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The second annual Hayrides and Hiking the Hill will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 9 at the new city park known as the Batey Farm. There will be hayrides, hiking, food trucks, a cornhole mini tournament as well as face painting and other activities for kids. The property is located at 119 East Drive at the corner of East Drive and Indian Lake Road.

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