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Windham to benefit from Scouts' elbow grease

WINDHAM - Two outdoor facilities are about to get a much-needed face-lift.

During Monday night's Board of Selectmen meeting, the board unanimously approved projects proposed by two members of Windham Girl Scout Troop No. 10281 and Eagle Scout candidate Brian Deranian.

If all goes as planned, there will be a restored gazebo on Town Common and a new changing facility at the Cobbetts Pond town beach by summer's end.

Recreation Director Cheryl Haas said local Girl Scouts Taylor Mendes and Molly Ryan, both 14, approached her earlier this year.

"They wanted to do something for the town," Haas said. "Sitting in my office, I looked out the window and saw our gazebo, which needs some serious sprucing up."

The girls, who have been involved in local Scouting programs for the past eight years, were intrigued.

Mendes said their plan is to begin replacing the gazebo's rotten boards, then the structure will be sanded and painted. New plantings will be added around the gazebo site.

"Sometimes the folks from the senior center go down there to sit on a nice day," Mendes said. "We'd like to make it better for them."

The girls will begin working on the project as soon as classes end for the summer, with plans to raise funds by selling handmade friendship bracelets.

The project will take an estimated 50 to 60 hours of work, according to Ryan.

In order to achieve the Girl Scouts' highest status, the Gold Award, scouts must first complete Bronze and Silver projects.

In accordance with Scouting rules, Silver Award projects must be completed prior to entering 10th grade. The award is given in recognition of outstanding community service projects.

Local high school student Brian Deranian hopes to earn his Eagle Scout badge by rebuilding the Cobbetts Pond changing facility.

The Eagle Scout badge is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve: only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earn the honor.

"The building is in major disrepair right now, but people still use it because there's really nowhere else to change," Haas said.

Deranian said he'd be working closely with town officials for guidance and has already discussed the project with Windham building inspector Mike McGuire.

A Life Scout with Troop 266, Deranian said his plan is to tear down the existing structure and replace it with a new one that not only looks nicer but also is handicapped accessible.

"Hopefully we'll get a lot more people to come out and use the town beach," he told the board.

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