Lockerly Arboretum in Milledgeville has just over a mile in walking trails, but there are some wooded areas that haven’t been accessed in a number of years. Now a Boy Scout in Milledgeville looking to earn his Eagle Scout rank wants to change that. Jobie Peeples spoke to the Baldwin High School student to learn how he’s planning to help reopen those trails by replacing a bridge.
“It’s really bad," Wiley Bennett said. "I’m going to have to replace the whole thing actually.”
17-year-old Wiley Bennett has his work cut out for him.
“A tree fell on it years ago and now the bottom is just rotted," Bennett pointed.
He’s replacing an old bridge at Lockerly Arboretum.
“The complete handrail on this side has broken off," Bennett showed. "I’ve walked across the bridge and it’s really just not stable at all anymore.”
He’s taking on this project to earn his Eagle Scout rank as a part of troop 316 in Milledgeville.
The bridge used to take walkers through wooded trails, but those haven’t been open for about 7 years due to rotted trees falling on it over the years.
And now Bennett wants to bring that bridge back to life.
“I took some pictures, measurements of the depth of the creek that’s there, the existing bridge and how long it is, how long it would need to be and how wide the original one was," Bennett said.
He’s created 3D models of what the new bridge would look like and he’s gotten his blueprints approved by Lockerly. Now he’s just got to get the materials to start.
The total project will cost about $900. Bennett has started a GoFundMe page to raise the money, and he’s off to a good start, but is hoping to start building mid-July.
Bennett says although this project will help him move up in rank, there’s another reason he wanted to do this.
“When I was in kindergarten, we would do field trips at Lockerly and this is one of the trails that we would go on," Bennett said. "And Greg, being the education director, he would bring us through and talk to us about Lockerly, and doing this is something that would be meaningful to me as well.”
Bennett says he’s got some of his fellow boy scouts and volunteers ready to help him build.
He says he’s excited to see his work come to life.
“I can’t wait to see the finished bridge, honestly. I’m really excited," Bennett said. "I’ve looked at the 3D model and now I just want to see it in person, physically.”
Bennett hopes to purchase the building materials and get to work by mid-July.