MUSCATINE — In order for a Boy Scout to obtain the rank of Eagle, there are a long list of requirements: a fat stack of merit badges and a length of complicated knots.
But infamous for its power to stop scouts in their tracks is the Eagle Scout Service Project. It requires a scout to plan and carry out a service project that will improve the community. That is what brought scouts and scout leaders from Troop 783 of Ss. Mary and Mathias Catholic Church to Weed Park on Wednesday.
Tom LoBianco, a 17-year-old Life Scout, started planning in December. He got together with Nick Gow of the City of Muscatine's Parks Department. The Journal reached out multiple times by phone and email to Nick Gow but was not able to reach him by press time. According LoBianco, Gow was looking for someone to build a gazebo at Weed Park, but his department did not have the funding to do it.
"Fundraising was a really big part of this project," LoBianco said. "I started back in December planning for it. We wanted to get a really nice gazebo for here in Weed Park for the community to enjoy."
LoBianco put together a memorial fund for his grandmother, Rose LoBianco, to raise money for the gazebo project.
"I set up a memorial fund for this and because of the generous people in Muscatine, I was able to get this nice kit," LoBianco said. "My hope is that people can continue to come out here and use it. Take pictures in it and all that fun stuff."
Of all the problems LoBianco said he ran into, timing was the hardest.
"The timeline kind of snuck on me with all the activities," LoBianco said. He plays football and baseball, both of which have practices in the summer. "I was gone for the last four weekends — football trips, baseball camp, boy scout camp — it's been a really crazy summer."
While Eagle Scout Service Projects range in terms of substance, one piece is always key; it was added to the requirements for Eagle in 1972: "give leadership to others."
Walking around while gazebo parts were going into place, LoBianco was helping other scouts and leaders figure out which side was "up" and where it should go.