Donation will help expand Washougal library’s collection

This is the second donation Vern and Faye Schanilec have made to the Washougal Community Library

The next Friends of the Washougal Library meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m., at the library, 1661 "C" St.

The Friends group meets monthly to plan projects that will raise funds for programs and a new library.

For more information, call 906-4860.

The next Friends of the Washougal Library meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m., at the library, 1661 “C” St.

The Friends group meets monthly to plan projects that will raise funds for programs and a new library.

For more information, call 906-4860.

A local author and his wife recently made another donation to the Washougal Community Library.

Vern Schanilec, the author of three books about plants and gardening, and his wife Faye, an avid reader, have contributed $5,000 that will fund the purchase of new books.

According to Librarian Chris Hughey, a portion of the money will be used soon to add materials to the current library, and the rest will be earmarked for an “opening day” collection once a new library opens to the public.

Vern Schanilec, a Master Gardener, has written books including “Dictionary of Bible Plants,” “Pretty, But Don’t Touch or Eat,” and “Your Garden, Your Eden,” which are included in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library’s collection.

The retired pharmacist said this is the second $5,000 contribution they have made to the Washougal library.

“It’s always a good thing for the library to have more books, and especially in Washougal where they need to expand their small collection,” Schanilec said. “And, they have big plans down the road.”

Those plans include a new library to replace the current 2,400 square foot, one-level facility that opened in 1981 at 1661 “C” St. In 2013, the library was identified in a FVRL facilities study as a high priority for replacement or enlargement.

Cost estimates have ranged from $2.2 million for a renovation of the current site, to upwards of $5 million for a brand new facility. Some funding would be provided by the FVRL, while the bulk would come from fundraising efforts and possibly a voter-approved bond.

FVRL Executive Director Nancy Tessman said work continues on the process of vetting potential sites, and the Friends of the Washougal Library organization is ramping up its efforts to generate support and develop plans for a fundraising campaign.

“I hope to have more information [on potential sites] by mid-February,” she said.

According to Hughey, the Washougal library also recently received a $500 donation from a person who wanted to remain anonymous. That money will be part of the library building fund.

Schanilec said he enjoys being able to support the local library now and in the future.

“We are pleased that we can contribute to the size of the collection because that is a draw to the community,” he said. “If someone can find a book at the Washougal library, they won’t have to go somewhere else. It’s just about community involvement.”

The Schanilecs’ philanthropic efforts have touched other parts of the community as well.

In spring 2014, it was announced that they had contributed $15,000 through the Parks Foundation to support a $50,000 project that will add a 325 square foot wood plank observation deck to a pond adjacent to the Washougal River Greenway Trail in Camas. The endeavor will also include a paved access path, rock wall, railing, bench and landscaping.

The trail is located within the 125-acre Washougal River Greenway, and runs from Northeast Third Avenue Loop and Crown Road to Northeast Second Avenue and Yale Street. It consists of a raised cement boardwalk, as well as nearly 5,000 linear feet of hard surfaced pathway.

According to city officials, design work is currently underway on the overlook project. It will be put out to bid this winter, and hopefully be completed in late spring in time for the summer season.

Schanilec said he hopes his and Faye’s contributions to the library will motivate others to do the same.

“If people see this, maybe they will be inspired to donate, too,” he said.

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