HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Local 14-year-old Jake Burnett has a goal of becoming an Eagle Scout in the very near future. On Monday, Nov. 13, the scout from Troop 55 in Somers Point sought approval from the Township Committee to create his Eagle Scout project on a property owned by the township.

About a month ago, Jake contacted the township with the purpose of finding a project the community needed that he could do as an Eagle Scout project.

According to Jake’s mother, Gina, township Director of Public Works Brett Noll offered two projects that could be done. He spoke with Jake about re-doing the rotting, falling apart, wooden raised flower bed surrounding the football scoreboard at Underhill Park, a place where Jake had played baseball for many years. Jake selected this project as it met the criteria needed for his Eagle project.

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For the project, Jake will remove the old rotten structure, build a raised flowerbed using brick pavers and landscape the bed using evergreens to be sure it continues to look good through the cold months.

Jake has partnered with an experienced landscaper, Mark Shutz of Shutz’s Landscaping, as well as Noll, to assist with his project. He has been in touch with Mays Landing Athletic Association President Brion Kurtz and Football Commissioner Patrick Milliken to discuss his project, to see if they had ideas or concerns. They were both positive and excited for the project to take place and offered him their assistance if needed.

After handing out the project description and design to committee members, Jake quickly obtained a unanimous approval to move forward. “It’s great to see your initiative,” Mayor John Kurtz said.

Township Solicitor Robert Sandman asked Jake about the cost of the project. Jake replied he was unsure, as it depended on how much of the materials would be donated. Sandman then pledged $300 from his law firm, Hankin, Sandman, Palladino and Weintrob.

The freshman, enrolled in the engineering magnet program at Cedar Creek High School, said he plans to begin construction on the project in March.

“This is the type of project that will last for decades and not only is it one Jake will be very proud of, but one that will beautify and help his community,” Gina Burnett said.

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