Preston Hollow residents have another socially-distanced, outdoor activity opportunity, courtesy of two Troop 80 Boy Scouts.
Just in time for summer, Dylan Piper, Robert Hamman, and other volunteers finished refurbishing two tennis courts at Netherland Park.
The boys chose the location, which also includes a wildflower park and gravel walking trail, for their Eagle project, the keystone requirement for Scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout.
Eagle projects require Scouts to demonstrate leadership skills they’ve learned from the program. Piper and Hamman thought improving the two regulation tennis courts also would be a way to give back to the community.
“The community (gained) a repainted and newly lined professional-looking tennis court to enjoy over the next several years,” said Sloan Anderson, of Dallas City Parks. “It shows that something wonderful can happen when you simply care and invest in your park.”
Anderson guided Piper and Hamman throughout the project, beginning with initial planning and preparation.
However, shortly after work began in the winter, the COVID-19 pandemic put the project on hold.
“I knew the boys had put so much of their hearts and souls into this project, but circumstances were beyond any of our control,” she said. “We kept the lines of communication open during this period and just hoped for the possibility of getting back to the project.”
“I felt the need to connect more people in that community with a court that family and friends could actually play on.”Dylan Piper, Troop 80 Boy Scout
After months of uncertainty, they saw an opportunity for resuming their work with the added safety measures of mask-wearing and social distancing, Anderson said.
Hamman, who recently finished at E.D. Walker Middle School in Dallas, said added precautions didn’t majorly affect operations once the project got back underway.
“The project was already basically going to be social distanced because the courts are so big and spread out, so basically we just made sure that we weren’t sharing anything or coming in contact with each other,” Hamman said.
Though sound and level, the courts’ surfaces hadn’t been treated for more than 20 years. To manage the exceptional workload, the project was separated into two phases — first, preparation cleaning and base painting, and then finish painting and striping.
With the help of 10 volunteers, nearly 100 gallons of sealant and striping paints, and many days of work, the Scouts completed the refurbishment on May 13 – on time and slightly under budget. They raised nearly $2,000.
Piper, a rising junior at J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, credited the idea to his Eagle Scout teacher and Hamman’s father, Dr. Baron Hamman.
Dr. Hamman mentioned how eroded the tennis courts were, Piper said. “What drew me towards the idea was the fact that no one truly played at the courts, and, as a Scout, I felt the need to connect more people in that community with a court that family and friends could actually play on.”
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