Even in death, Richards still working for Roanoke

Death hasn't stopped E.J. Richards from working to better his community.

With a $53,500 gift from the E.J. Richards Trust, a fund-raising campaign to move the Roanoke Public Library into larger quarters has exceeded its goal.

The gift to the Roanoke Public Library Building Corporation puts the organization over its goal of raising $250,000 for renovation of space in the former coil factory building in Roanoke to serve as the library's new home.

A date of March 2 has been set to move books from the library's current 1,300-square-foot facility at 126 N. Main St. to the new 3,000-square-foot location just up the street at 314 N. Main St. Members of the community will be invited to form a "bucket brigade" to move the books from the current library building to their new home.

Richards, an avid reader who died in 2011, graduated from Roanoke High School and returned to his hometown after a stint in the military and a career in business in California.

He became a behind-the-scenes community supporter as a founder and active member of the Roanoke Economic Development Corporation, which worked to clean up the former C&M Plating Company and return the property to the tax rolls.

He also advocated the establishment of the Roanoke TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District, which provides funds to support economic development projects in Roanoke.

The E.J. Richards Trust was established to benefit the Roanoke Park, Roanoke Beautification Fund and the Huntington County Community Foundation.

The library building corporation will continue its fund-raising campaign through the end of February.

"Nothing could be more rewarding than ending the campaign with money set aside for future needs of the library," co-chair Perry Collins says. "With just a few more contributors, we can do that."

Those who make a contribution before Feb. 28 will have their names included on the list of donors.

For more information, to schedule a visit from a fund-raiser or to make a donation, call 672-2989.