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Crescent Valley High School freshman Vincent Bottaro — and a dozen or so friends, fellow Scouts and youth pastors — took advantage of the Veterans Day holiday to finish off a community project.

Bottaro and his volunteers concluded their installation of colorful book titles in the basement parking garage of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

Bottaro, a 14-year-old member of Scout Troop 170, came up with the idea to meet the community leadership project requirement as he moves toward achieving Eagle Scout status.

He had two goals. First, he wanted to brighten up the garage. Second, he wanted to encourage people to read.

The concrete pillars were painted, vinyl stickers created by local graphic artist Katy Krupp showing the author and book title were added and sealant was applied to preserve the work. Volunteers were on ladders Monday applying the stickers, while others picked up trash and swept the garage clean. There are 22 pillars in the garage, with book titles going up on all four sides of each one. 

“It’s going well,” Bottaro said when the Gazette-Times came by Monday at noon. The original plan for his crew was to work Saturday, Sunday and Monday. But Saturday went so well that Bottaro adjusted the schedule.

“We got so much done Saturday that I didn’t have to use them Sunday, which is really nice,” Bottaro said.

Spoken like a supervisor with a heart. Bottaro’s role, according to the project guidelines, was to organize the volunteers to do the work — but not to dive in too much himself.

“I’m only supposed to do a little bit of the work,” he said. “The whole point of the project is to organize everyone.”

Like all supervisors, Bottaro also is responsible for the paperwork, and the job won’t be truly finished until that’s taken care of.

“Doing the project is only half the work,” He said. “I have to take pictures and explain how the project benefits the community.”

Earlier, Bottaro went on a tour of city boards, committees and councils. He pitched his idea to the Library Advisory Board, the Arts and Culture Advisory Board and the Public Art Selection Committee before winning the enthusiastic unanimous approval from the City Council on Sept. 4. He also made a fundraising pitch to the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library Foundation.

Bottaro established a budget of approximately $1,900 for the project, with the library foundation the major contributor. Bottaro said he came in under budget, with help from discounts provided by Miller Paint and some in-kind donations from Element Graphics.

Bottaro also could recite exactly how much in materials had come from the paint store: 11 gallons of paint, four-plus gallons of primer and three gallons of sealant. 

“Now, I have to trust the drivers not to hit the pillars,” Bottaro said.

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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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