Following months of planning and presentations, a Boy Scout working toward becoming an Eagle Scout received final town approval to move forward building a gazebo in .
The council unanimously backed Ryan Lanphear’s project through a resolution Monday night after nearly two hours of comments from the public, both in favor and against the project.
“Going into the meeting, we weren’t so sure on the outcome, so the unanimous approval was a giant leap for the project,” Lanphear said in an email to Patch Monday night.
Lanphear and was told he should work with the Parks and Recreation Commission. The gazebo could be used for events, including concerts in the park, the annual PAWS Walk and Easter egg hunts.
“The more I researched, the more versatile I realized it could be. I just wanted something beneficial for the community, and to be a place to bring the town together,” Lanphear said.
Around 100 people attended the regularly-scheduled council meeting, including resident Janice Carson who lives near . Carson spoke out against the project saying she wished residents were surveyed earlier and was concerned the noise from the park would increase.
Lanphear said he tried to address as many concerns as he could, while doing in-depth research on the project.
“I valued each and every one of their comments, as residents, and my neighbors, with their own perspective. I tried to address as many concerns as I could through the design and presentation process to accommodate their input,” he said.
Memorial Park was floated as a potential location for the structure, but after research and speaking with officials, Lanphear found that two sewer lines that cannot be built on top of run through the park, and it is in a flood zone.
Hightstown’s Construction Official George Chin explained the structure of the gazebo, including how the shape of the roof would make the height less noticeable. He also said the structure will fit into the park, given the size of surrounding trees.
The plans for the gazebo call for it to be 12-feet from front to back, 20-feet wide and about 18-feet high.
Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Pat Duncan said Lanphear has worked with them for many aspects of the project, including determining the best location for the gazebo, developing a plan for keeping the structure maintained throughout the year and addressing issues brought up by boards and commissions in the Borough.
Throughout the process Lanphear attended nine parks and recreation meetings, one environmental commission meeting, two planning board meetings and two council meetings to reach the final approval for the gazebo.
“It was certainly a relief, after having to go through a lot of obstacles, but definitely worth it. I’ve learned a lot and it will help me grow as an individual,” Lanphear said.
He said he would now send the project to the Scout Council for final approval, followed by fundraising and working toward breaking ground.
“I couldn’t have done it all without the support of my family, friends and fellow citizens,” Lanphear said. “It really means a lot to me, and it kept me going.
Council member Gail Doran recused herself from the vote.