The Dorothy Bramlage Public Library met to discuss the ongoing efforts to expand the library.
A steering committee dedicated to the library expansion project has determined the best option for the library is to attempt to move the library to a new building at a new site.
However, doing this project will cost about $10 million. Library officials are in the process of trying to figure out how to pay for the project.
The board talked about fundraising efforts. Members discussed options for fundraisers and possibilities for this year’s Greater Geary Community Foundation Match Day.
The library has already been engaged in extensive fundraising. Last year during the Greater Geary Community Foundation’s annual Match Day, the library raised more than $60,000. At this time, the library has about $500,000 total either pledged or already donated in a fund with the Greater Geary Community Foundation.
Aside from fundraising, there is also the matter of finding someplace to build the new library.
The former Junction City High School location has been floated as a possible home for the new library. If this were to take place, the new library would likely be built on the corner of Eight and Eisenhower Streets.
The old JCHS site has also been recommended as the site of a new sports complex by community member Kendall Schoenrock who had the idea last year to convert the former high school into an all-encompassing recreational facility.
If the City of Junction City can acquire this property, it could apply for a substantial grant that would help fund the project. The library was unable to apply for this grant this year because the deadline passed without the city having acquired the former high school property. This year, a total of $60 million was distributed to projects around the state. About 18 projects were funded with the largest amount of money distributed to a single project totaling about $10 million.
The city and the school district are still in the process of working out a deal to transfer the property and the demolition of the former high school.
Until the city and school district can come to an agreement about the site, the library project cannot move forward in that direction, according to library Director Susan Moyer. The grant requires the project to be shovel-ready, but she said once the site has been acquired it won’t be long before the city can meet the requirement.
“Once the city has possession, the feeling from the city side of it anyway was portions of that project are already shovel-ready,” Moyer said. “But they have to have possession in order for them to do that. So there’s a lot of open ground in that area that they can declare to be that — at least a portion of that lot — to be shovel-ready. But it’s the chicken and the egg. The structures have to be down before they can take possession … It’s a challenge.”
Moyer suggested the library board craft a letter and send it to both the city and the school board asking them to move forward on it for the sake of both the library and sports complex projects. She suggested the library board attend a city and/or school board meeting to try and persuade the members of those respective entities to come to a conclusion on the matter.
“It’s not so much we’re trying to scold anybody or tell them what to do,” Moyer said. “But just to make sure that they know that there are projects — and dollars perhaps — hanging in the balance here.”
She said she believed the city and school district could come to an agreement on the matter and
“I think their willingness to do this is there, they just are hung up on kind of a little bit of a spitting contest,” Moyer said.