BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – The legacy of a couple of former West Point farmers will carry on at the West Point Public Library.
City officials at Monday night’s West Point City Council meeting voted in favor of an investment plan the library has for a gift of more than a half a million dollars from the estate of Patricia Hoenig.
Dara Sanders, the director of the library, said the library board was made aware of the gift last year and received the funds in December.
“We were really very surprised and honored to be a beneficiary of Patricia’s estate,” Sanders said.
“I wish I would have been able to get to know them and had some way of thanking them for this gift.”
Hoenig, and her husband Ralph, were farmers in West Point and members of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in West Point. The two had no children.
Patricia died in 2109 and Ralph passed away in 2005. The two were in an auto accident five days after they were married in 1954. Patricia lost a leg in the accident and Ralph was paralyzed from the waist down.
But the two continued in the farming industry up until Ralph’s death.
Sanders said most of the money will be invested initially. The library is less than 20 years old and in good condition.
“Initially the board thought it best to invest the money and hopefully we can use just the interest off of that and not get into the principal,” Sanders said.
Some technology upgrades will take place to replace the public computer and the genealogy computer, and about $41,000 of the funds will go into the library checking account.
The rest, about $510,000, is being invested in with local banks.
“Now we’ll turn to future of library. We have some immediate tech needs we’ll use a little of it for. But the board wants to be careful in what we spend it on in the future,” Sanders said.
“We do have a 5-year strategic plan in 2019. But we just started to have that discussion about how we want to approach that now.”
Sanders married into West Point and took over the library position in 2016 and didn’t get to know Hoenig prior to her death.
“From what I’ve been told from townspeople, she was a library patron throughout her life,” Sanders said.
“I had just come across a past news article that showed her and Ralph were respected and hardworking farmers that had overcome some personal hardships.
“It’s an amazing gift and we feel very luck that they thought of us. This will help provide stability to the library for many, many years to come.”
Sanders said the library plans to acknowledge the gift with some type of event in the future, but plans are still in the works.