Checkmate for Eagle Scout project at Battle Point

Bainbridge High School junior Ben Watson installed an outdoor chess board and benches at Battle Point Park this summer to complete his Eagle Scout requirements for BI Troop 1564.

The project was supported by a $2,700 Community Grant from the Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation.

“I was thinking I really wanted something that would last,” Watson said. “I wanted something really permanent that I could come back to, way down the line.”

“Permanent” pointed to concrete, in both senses of the word, and Watson wanted something more interactive than a typical park bench. While not a chess player himself, he landed on an outdoor chess table typical of many urban parks.

“I thought it would be nice, and add something to the park,” he said.

Watson and his project advisor, Ken DeWitt, scouted locations around Battle Point before settling on a spot next to the KidsUp! Playground. It doubles as a great table for a picnic lunch for a parent and kid, between romps around the playground.

Watson and fellow Scouts built forms and poured the concrete base, with help from park district construction staff. The board, concrete with a marble inlay, pedestal and benches were sourced from a commercial vendor.

“We did the concrete mixing and everything, but the Park District really helped us out with the leveling,” Watson said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

The project was one of six funded through the foundation’s Community Grants program in 2021. Others included BHS Sailing Club, $3,000 for a new C-420 sailboat for youth regattas; BI Water Polo Club, $3,000 for new conditioning equipment; Parks stewards program, $3,000 for tools for volunteer conservation and stewardship events; BI Swim Club, $2,775 for a new records board for the BI Aquatic Center; and Eagledale Pottery Studio, $1,450 for a new pug mill for recycling and reusing pottery clay.

Since 1998, the foundation has awarded Community Grants totaling more than $852,000 supporting youth and adult park and recreation programs on BI.

The foundation’s Community Grant cycle goes live Sept. 1 with applications due Oct. 1. See for details.