Grand County Library District closer to fundraising goal | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County Library District closer to fundraising goal

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

After the town of Granby pledged to grant $50,000 over a 10-year period to the Grand County Library District on Tuesday, Mary Anne Hanson-Wilcox, executive director of the district, was feeling cautiously optimistic that the district might reach a financial milestone to manage building payments on its two new libraries.

Downturns in the economy have had their effect on the rate of successful fundraising the past two years, library officials said, and for the opportunity of acquiring challenge grants, the library has sought extensions from grantors as it continues to search out support locally.

In a campaign to raise $2.4 million for its libraries, with $2.14 million achieved, another $250,000 is needed to gain a total of $250,000 in challenge grants from the Gates Family Foundation of Denver and the Boettcher Foundation.

With a Sept. 1 deadline approaching, library officials hit the pavement town-to-town to see if municipalities and the county were willing to contribute.

The effort may have been successful, with Winter Park promising $50,000 over 10 years at the participation of other towns, Grand Lake putting up $50,000 over 20 years, Fraser offering $25,000 over 10 years, and most recently, Granby pledging $50,000 for 10 years.

For each of the last two years, Granby had already contributed $5,000 in its budget contributions to the library, board members noted, and 2008’s donation would be counted in the 10-year pledge period.

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A visit to the county Tuesday morning for the same request, $5,000 each year for 10 years, was received with mixed blessings. Newberry questioned why the town was tapping other taxing entities for the funds rather than ask its district constituents for a raise in the mill levy.

Library officials responded that the direction of its board has been to seek funding in other ways, as it did in building the Fraser Library, rather than go to the taxpayers.

They noted that they were forced to build two buildings ” the Granby and Grand Lake libraries ” at once (originally it had planned the Grand Lake Library project before Granby’s) not by choice, but by the disaster involving an armored bulldozer on June 4, 2004.

The county said it would rather consider a block grant during budget deliberations next month in the grand total of $50,000 rather than spread the money over a 10-year period and obligate other boards.

Hanson-Wilcox told both Granby and the county Tuesday that the district has been making “serious cuts” in-house to hold off resorting to cutting community library services to make its $400,000 annual payments on the buildings. So far, they’ve chopped $500,000 out of this year’s budget, she said.

Even with the town’s contributions of late, including a possible $50,000 from the county, the library would still be $25,000 shy of achieving the challenge grant.

The library plans to seek another extension, but whether grantors are willing to oblige is unknown, officials said.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

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