SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Members of South Plainfield Girl Scout Troop #65131, with help from their siblings, parents and friends, including resident Kevin Flannery, built and installed a bench/planter at the South Side Dog Park last week. 

The troop is comprised of seven incoming Grant sixth graders with the project an effort put forth to earn their Girl Scout Bronze Award. Led by Yin Cabrera and Sharon Davis, the troop is includes Ava Cabrera, Emily Davis, Samantha Droge, Maria Fuschetti, Emma Hoppe, Emma Hoyos, and Isabella Spadavecchia. 

“The troop brainstormed several ideas this past year and after determining cost, feasibility, benefits, they created several designs and eventually decided this project would benefit our dog loving community the most,” said Cabrera, noting that in addition to the bench/planter, the project also called for planting a tree inside the structure. “They are all animal lovers and knew they wanted to do a project to support animals in our area.”

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Throughout the planning process, the troop met with Councilwoman Christine Faustini, the borough’s recreation liaison, to propose the project and obtain approval from the town. Additionally, they wrote letters to Home Depot seeking donations, picked up supplies, coordinated with the Department of Public Works to plant the tree, and met over the summer to plan how and when best to dig and put the bench into place. 

In terms of building the bench/planter, the troop sought assistance from Flannery, a lifelong resident of South Plainfield and skilled carpenter. Flannery helped the girls pick up and cut the pressure treated lumber, which was partially donated by Home Depot with the balance donated by the troop. 

The cut lumber was brought to the park and assembled into the bench/planter on Aug. 9 where Flannery and his family, including Lucy Flannery and Frankie Flannery, Steven Zultowski, and some of their siblings, worked to build and install the structure. 

“Flannery dedicated a lot of his spare time to help cut the lumber and lent his expertise on building the bench. Once lumber was cut and tree was in place, the troop was finally able to meet at the dog park to dig and screw the bench together,” said Cabrera, adding, “We are extremely grateful for Mr. Flannery’s help as we could not have completed this project without him [and] are also grateful for all the family and friends that pitched in and helped as well.”

“The planter/bench designed by Kevin Flannery and his family is very impressive and will provide immediate seating and shade as the tree begins to grow,” added Faustini.

According to Cabrera, the project would also have not been a success without the councilwoman’s help and support. “I knew that she helped spearhead the dog park project and thought she might be able to help,” she said, “The coordination of DPW and town officials would not have been possible without Councilwoman Faustini. She was instrumental as well.”

“Girl Scout Troop #65131 was looking for a project that would give back to the community and the South Side Dog Park has become a popular destination for so many South Plainfield dogs and their owners,” said Faustini. “It was a joy to watch the children assemble it and learn from the adults. I am so grateful to everyone for all their hard work.” 

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