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On Sept. 4, Corvallis Scout Vincent Bottaro wowed the Corvallis City Council with a presentation on his plan to spruce up the garage of the main branch of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

Bottaro wants to decorate all four sides of the 22 concrete pillars in the garage with book titles.

“It’s dark and bland and gray in the parking garage,” 14-year-old Bottaro told the councilors. “How could I make it more inviting? And I came up with the idea of painting over the pillars and add book titles to encourage reading.”

“This is fantastic,” said Ward 3 Councilor Hyatt Lytle.

“What a great idea,” chimed in Ward 6 Councilor Nancy Wyse, who had even harsher words for the ambiance of the garage: “It’s ugly.”

A motion to approve the plan was made by Ward 5’s Charlyn Ellis, a Corvallis High School English teacher. Lytle seconded, and moments later an 8-0 vote put Bottaro’s project on the fast track as the crowd at the downtown fire station erupted in applause.

Bottaro, a member of Troop 170, has set up an online survey (see link in information box) for residents to make book recommendations and plans to work with the Library Advisory Board on the final selections. His presentation also can be viewed at the library’s main branch and folks can vote there as well. Bottaro hopes to install the project by November.

Bottaro, who just started his freshman year at Crescent Valley High School, worked with local graphic artist Katy Krupp on the design and built a budget for the project that calls for spending approximately $1,900. Bottaro is spearheading his own fundraising campaign and is planning to pitch it to the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library Foundation. No public money is being used.

Don’t bet against Bottaro’s persuasiveness. Before knocking the socks of the council, he got the go-ahead from the Library Advisory Board, the Arts & Culture Advisory Board and the city’s Public Art Selection Committee.

Bottaro took the Gazette-Times on a tour of the garage to show how his plan will work with a wooden prototype he built, using Fred Gipson’s “Old Yeller” as the model. Bottaro intentionally used yellow paint on the mockup and plans to have each of the 22 pillars painted in a single color that complements the books on the pillar.

The pillars will be painted, Krupp will add vinyl stickers showing the author and title in the font used on the book jacket and a sealant will be applied to preserve the work.

Krupp, Bottaro was careful to point out, is part of the budget. She gave him a discount on the lettering piece of the project but she is “donating her installation time — and all of her creativity time.”

The project is the final hurdle on Bottaro’s path to Eagle Scout. It’s called a community leadership project. Key requirements? He had to get it approved, lead a group of volunteers and participate in the work.

And talk the City Council into it.

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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