DUBLIN — What a difference a little time and whole lot of sweat will do.
Earlier this year, the old Dublin Boy Scout Hut — an icon of both scouting and the community in Dublin, which was built in the early 1950s — was an eyesore being used by vagrants as a place to sleep and local children as a place to play.
Today, the facility is well on its way toward a transformation back to its glory days.
“That’s what we hope to do … return it to the days of the old Boy Scout Troop 662,” said Tony Parnell, one of four men leading the effort. The others are Walter Bullard, Seth Lewis and Bobby Lewis. “We hope to bring back the Boy Scout Troop, as well as have this as a place for the community to use for birthdays, meetings, reunions, whatever.”
The foursome has been been meeting nearly every Thursday afternoon for the past few months, and their efforts are already starting to show. Among the things they’ve accomplished are a removal of the vines covering the outside of the building, cleaned out the inside, stabilized the roof, leveled the back room, put in a new breaker box, put in several new windows and cleared much of the property.
“It’s a far cry from what it was earlier this year,” Parnell said. “But there’s a long way to go yet.”
Some of the plans for the facility include installing overhead lights, creating a museum area, put in a sink and prep table with a stove and refrigerator, build work tables, possibly put in a hot-water heater and shower, create a meeting area and classroom setting in the front room.
Outside, the group hopes to put in a pavilion with picnic tables, create a horseshoe pit and corn hole area, as well as a volleyball space and other activities out back.
In order to accomplish all that, a number of things are needed. And at the top of the list is volunteers.
“The four of us have done a lot of work already, but we aren’t going to be able to do it all,” Parnell said. “We’d love to have individuals and/or community groups come help us.”
But Parnell said anyone interested in being a volunteer should contact Bullard at 910-862-4286 so that volunteer efforts can be better coordinated.
Aside from volunteers, Parnell said the group is hoping for donations from the community. Those items include the use of a cement mixer, cement door steps, stove, refrigerator, hot water heater, bathroom sink, toilet, insulation, exterior back door set and three-quarter-inch tongue-n-groove pine flooring.
“We’ve already received the donation of windows from Jerry Clark, who has also given us quite a bit of lumber at cost,” Parnell said. “Also, ‘Ton’ Shaw has donated a number of overhead lights from his hog houses.
“We have some other things we’d like to do, but right now those are luxuries,” he said. “We’re just dealing with the necessities right now.”
Parnell added that the efforts made by Bullard and the Lewises have been phenomenal.
“Walter really brings a lot of scouting knowledge, and he’s probably worked harder at 74 years of age than any three 25-year-olds would,” he said. “Seth and Bobby have also been a huge help.”
Parnell said the group hopes to have the facility and grounds ready enough to host a barbecue or chicken fundraiser in August, then hold a workday on Saturdays after that. He said October is the target date to have the property ready for use.