“I love to bike and think the LHT is great for the community,” said Bakshi. “As part of my work to become an Eagle Scout, I had to manage the planning, procurement, approvals, donations, construction and completion of the kiosk. The Hopewell Valley Lions Club was one of my biggest financial donors.”
According to Bakshi, the entire project took over 400 hours. He said about half of the time was spent building the kiosk and clearing brush along a 3000 sq. ft section of the trail. The Scouts also landscaped and planted three fruit trees (apple, peach and nectarine).
“We are very grateful to Neal, the rest of the Scouts from Troop #41, the Hopewell Valley Lions and Bristol-Myers Squibb for adding a new kiosk to our trail,” said Eleanor Horne, LHT Co-President and Vice President of ETS. “It will be a big help to trail users who need to consult an overall map, directions and other reference materials.”
Bakshi and Horne noted the new kiosk matches one that already stands near the trail segment running through the ETS campus in Lawrence Township.
“Neal has shown the leadership required of an Eagle Scout,” said Rebecca Taylor, LHT Co-President. “His initiative and drive make all of us very proud. With supporters such as Neal and Bristol-Myers Squibb, we know the trail will grow and thrive.”
The new kiosk is located off of Titus Mill Road, directly across from Wargo Road, at the entrance to a one-mile section of the trail that provides safe passage for hikers, joggers and cyclists traveling along a very busy stretch of Pennington Rocky Hill Road.
Some of the other destinations along the 20-mile LHT include Lawrenceville School, the Main Street district of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Township parks, Mercer County Park Northwest, Rosedale Park, Hopewell Township open spaces, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association farmlands, and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) campus. Trail organizers say over half of the LHT will be accessible to the public at the end of this year, with full completion slated for 2012.
Bakshi, who has been a Scout since he was six, was quick to praise others for their assistance.
“I want to thank the LHT, my fellow Scouts, the Hopewell Valley Lions Club, my others donors, and Bristol-Myers Squibb for their support,’ he said. “Mr. Dennis Flynn and Mr. Brian Panek of Bristol-Myers Squibb assisted me throughout the process.”
Bakshi also acknowledged the contributions of Dr. Inder Kapoor, a friend and mentor who provided construction tools and guidance; his Scoutmaster, Mr. Jim Nowicki of Hopewell; Ms. Lisa McCormick Lavery of Bristol-Myers Squibb; and his parents, Aneesh and Simi, for “always helping with whatever needed to be done, volunteering their time and resources for my project, and believing in me and my dream to become an Eagle Scout.”