Scout projects pledge to revitalize airport, downtown space

Chris Berendt Staff Writer

January 9, 2014

Two Eagle Scout projects will aid in revitalizing two major focal points of Clinton and Sampson County through a new sign at the Clinton-Sampson Airport and the planting of a dozen trees within greenspace in downtown Clinton.

The separate Eagle Scout projects were detailed at the Sampson County Board of Commissioners and City Council meetings this week to the praise of the respective boards, which unanimously approved that Scouts Billy Prestage and Spell Carr move forward with their service projects.

According to Boy Scouts of America, Scouts pursuing the Eagle Award need to raise money through fundraisers or private donations to complete a service project that benefits others and is helpful to a religious institution, school or community. In achieving that goal, Prestage presented his sign project to commissioners and Carr offered a look into his tree-planting project to Council.

Billy Prestage

During the recent Board of Commissioners meeting, Prestage asked the board to consider installation of an airport sign for his Eagle Scout Project. He presented a draft drawing of a granite sign, which would come at no cost to the airport with Prestage raising all funds for his project.

A life Scout with Troop 27, sponsored by Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church of Clinton, Prestage is the 15-year-old son of Scott and Joy Prestage and a freshman at Harrells Christian Academy.

“I have decided to make a sign for the front of the Clinton-Sampson Airport Terminal. I have already gone before the Airport Authority and received permission to erect the sign,” said Prestage, noting he needed the board’s permission to use a piece of the county-owned land to install the sign. “This service project would be an informational sign as well as a beautification project to benefit the city/county airport, as well as the community.”

The Clinton-Sampson Airport Authority gave its approval in October and a Department of Transportation field study showed the proposal was in compliance with all right-of-way regulations. The proposed site for the airport sign is an approximately 30 by 70 feet piece of land in front of R.A. Naylor Terminal, located at 115 Sampson Airport Road.

“I would like to erect a sign that will not need upkeep and would stand up to the outside elements over time. I would like to do the sign out of granite, which will also increase the cost of my project,” noted Prestage. “If you decide to give me permission to use the county land for my Eagle Project, I will be most appreciative. I will move forward with my project and I promise to leave the land better than I found it.”

City manager Shawn Purvis has already agreed to be a main contact for any coordination needed for the project. Prestage said any surplus in funds raised would go toward some landscaping around the new sign.

“If I have enough money raised, I would like to add two evergreens on either side of the sign,” the Harrells freshman said. “I promise to erect something that Sampson County can be proud of.”

The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the request. Chairman Jefferson Strickland and others praised Prestage, and the chairman volunteered to assist Purvis if needed. “The board wishes you the very best,” said Strickland.

Prestage said he hoped to have the project completed by spring.

Spell Carr

During this week’s Council meeting, Carr detailed his proposed project in the greenspace by the Vance Street parking lot, the site of the former jail and an area where vast improvements have been made in recent years.

Carr, a 15-year-old Clinton High School sophomore and son of Bob and Wendy Carr, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 76 sponsored by First United Methodist Church in Clinton. He said his proposed project will involve the development of a tree park at the former jail site, which has been revamped over the last several years thanks to downtown revitalization projects — Carr said he wanted to aid in that ongoing transformation, further beautifying the greenspace.

“My proposed project continues the dedication in tree-planting that we have around the Farmer’s market,” Carr said. “I would like to continue the beautification of the downtown area of Clinton at the old jail site with the planting of 12 additional trees.”

The Clinton High sophomore consulted with Public Works and Utilities director Jeff Vreugdenhil and Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose about the project.

“Both are excited to see this project completed,” said Carr, who noted he would be raising the necessary funds to complete the project and the tree-planting will be done by Scouts. “Funding for this project will come from individuals who wish to dedicate a tree. Labor will be provided by members of my troop and Mr. Vreugdenhil has generously offered his knowledge and expertise for the project as well.”

Carr took the City Council through a slide presentation showing them the site, the proposed locations for the trees and types of trees that would be used.

According to Carr’s proposal, two matching red maple trees would be placed at the entrance of the site from Vance Street. Directly to the right of the entrance, a Ginko would be planted and two Japanese maples would take their place on either sides of a bench at the site, “for their beauty and their shade,” Carr noted.

A Kousa Dogwood would be placed near the Law Offices of Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling and two live oaks would be planted at the far end of the creek, he said. Three bald cypress trees will be put along the creek, with another live oak near the left of Vance Street entrance, opposite the Ginko.

The City Council unanimously approved the proposed project.

“We look forward to receiving that, and if we can help you in any way, we would be glad to,” said Mayor Lew Starling said. “Thank you very much.”

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at