California Area Public Library to benefit from local Eagle Scout project

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALocal Scout Elek Buday (pictured right) will complete a beautification and enhancement project for the California Public Library as part of his quest to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. A member of Troop 1391, Buday is seeking to restore and improve various aspects of the library facility and grounds.

With the help of his fellow scouts and any other volunteers willing to donate their time, Buday will begin a three-phase project aimed at enhancing the library.

The first phase of the project will include replacing the chain-link fence behind the library between the building and the railroad tracks. During the second phase of the project, Elek, his troop, and volunteers will be taking out all the brick around the foundation and allaying a base for both new bricks and any older bricks that can be salvaged. During the third and final phase, benches, tables, and even a new bike rack will be placed on the library grounds. This phase is contingent on donations and donor suggestions. The second part of phase three will include taking down the lampposts and painting them black.

“To accomplish this task, the whole troop of 1391 will be involved as well as whoever else is interested in volunteering,” said Buday.

As a visitor to the library since early childhood, Buday spent a lot of time on the back patio.

Several years ago his troop was one of the participants in a community service project that planted flower bulbs. His mom, Lisa, is very active in the community and often plants flowers in the borough’s planters.

“She is one of best library champions and she would be aware that the board often considers how to improve the ambience of the back patio. She was probably also aware that some years ago we had a problem with after-hours vandals (broken windows) and party-goers. She also knows that we have safety worries for our young children because the train tracks are so close and the fence is not truly adequate. She knows, too, that we tend to lose patio furniture. Anyone with two eyes can see that the brick is eroding,” said Claudia Bennett, librarian at the California Area Public Library.

callibraryBuday approached the library with his plan. He made a formal presentation to the board after having informal conversations with an architect.

“We were surprised (and delighted) by the level of ambition he had. I should note here that the library building is owned by California Borough, with upkeep shared by them and the library,” said Bennett.

Buday’s project requires approval from both entities.

“We are excited about the idea,” said Bennett. “A lovely, safe patio will expand our programming options. The library is small and we don’t have space for gatherings.”

Currently the project is still in its fundraising phase and Buday hopes to collect $4,500 for the first phase of the project. Phase two and three will proceed as donations allow.

Looking ahead, the chain-link fence behind the library will be completed by next spring. New benches and tables are slated to be added by summer of 2016, with the lampposts to be repainted by the following summer.

Help Buday achieve the rank of Eagle Scout as he aims to provide the community and library patrons with an inviting place to sit and read. Fundraising is currently underway. Donations can be made to “Troop 1391” and mailed to Elek Buday, 422 Wilkins Avenue, California, PA 15419.
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Story by Aaron Dalzell for Pennsylvania Bridges