It only took 17-year-old Jason Bitetto two days to build and install benches at the Valley Stream Dog Park for his Eagle Scout project. “Most of it was finished over one day,” Bitetto said.
He had some help from scoutmasters David Glaittli Sr., David Glaittli Jr., George Schuchman and Bill Bogel, as well as from other members of Troop 116. They helped Bitetto design and build the benches. His father, Tony, also oversaw the project to ensure that nobody was injured using power tools to cut and sand wood. “The boys are supposed to do the majority of the work,” Tony Bitetto said.
Jason said he wanted to work on the project because he found out from Mike Powers, the operations coordinator for the Friends of Valley Stream Dogs, that there were not enough seating options at the park, which is situated just north of the train tracks across from the Village Green. The only available seating for dog owners was one bench under a canopy. “When it’s crowded, there’s just not enough room,” Powers said.
Powers told the Bitettos about the problem because he knew that Jason was looking for a project and that his older brother, Matthew, made signs for the dog park as part of his Eagle Scout Project last year. Unfortunately, those signs had to be taken down earlier this year because they were starting to rot, according to Tony, but they are due to be replaced in September.
In the meantime, members of the Valley Stream Dog Park can enjoy the fruit of Jason Bitteto’s labor — the new benches were installed on Aug. 13, and members have already taken advantage of the new seating options, according to the president of the Friends of Valley Stream Dogs, Richard Infield.
“I was down there last night,” he said, “and a lot of the regulars were sitting on them as opposed to the benches we already had.”
It is still unknown when Jason will receive his Eagle Scout badge for the project, but according to Scoutmaster George Schuchman and President Richard Infield, he deserves it.