The rainy and very cold weather Monday did not deter the approximate 56 individuals who turned out for the ground breaking ceremony of the new Logan County Public Library.
“I was very pleased to see all those who came out to help celebrate this wonderful moment with us, despite the temperature,” said Logan County Librarian Linda Kompanik.
Some of those in attendance included: State Representative Martha Jane King, State Librarian Wayne Onkst, State Library Consultant Chris Bishoff, Regional Library Consultant Nikole Wolfe, Senator Rand Paul’s Rep Jason Hasert, Senator Ed Whitfield’s Rep Michael Pape, retired Regional Librarian and long serving library volunteer Evelyn Richardson, Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton, the trustees and staff of the Logan County Library and many more.
The new library is expected to be complete this time next year. The library will be moving from its home on Sixth Street in Russellville to Armory Drive in the lot next to Save-A-Lot. The facility is approximately 14,000 square feet, one third larger than the old library. The layout of the new building is expected to be user friendly with more space for different programs and will have a lot more parking spaces, allowing easier access.
The idea of building a new library has been in the works for several years, says Kompanik. The board of trustees have been collecting funds and applying for grants for some time now in hopes of having enough start-up money to begin. The library received a $500,000 grant from the Carpenter Foundation recently to add to the already donated $200,000 from Tilly Perry, an anonymous donation of $50,000 from a retired teacher, $5,000 from library board president Obie VanCleave, and a $100 donation per month from another anonymous donor, along with donations from the public at large. This is the second time the library has received a Carpenter Foundation grant. They were awarded a $100,000 grant to help purchase the property the new library will be located.
Bonds were sold Nov. 1 for $2,940,o00 at 3.3 percent with a payment of $152,000 annually for the next 30 years.
Kompanik said the rate was low because of the library’s good credit rating of an A+ from Standard and Poor’s.
The library is a taxing district and recieves funds each year from the citizenry of Logan County. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Kompanik said the library brought in $1,026,324 in revenues.
The project has not been without controversy, however. Members of the Logan County Fiscal Court have expressed on behalf of their constituents disapproval in building a new library at this time for fear of a library tax increase to pay for it.
At this time Fiscal Court does not have authority over the library and it’s decisions. The body only votes on recommendations made by the library to place individuals on its board.
Library Trustee Tom Noe, along with Kompanik have publicly stated several times that the board does not intend to raise taxes to pay for this project.
Neither Judge/Executive Logan Chick or any other members of Fiscal Court attended the ground breaking.
“We have all worked for a long time on this project. This is not something we could have done without the community’s support. I commend our forward thinking citizen board and I admire them for thinking this project through,” said Kompanik, adding she doesn’t think one can measure the importance of a library. She said perhaps it is best said by broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite, “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”