By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
NORTH LIBERTY– City officials, department heads, board members and even state-level dignitaries were digging the North Liberty Community Library.
On Sept. 30, Library Director Dee Crowner invited the public to an unofficial groundbreaking to commemorate the library’s future expansion. Unofficial, because construction won’t actually begin until next spring.
Crowner said she was just too excited to wait to celebrate the success of the fundraising campaign that exceeded its $3.3 million goal.
The $3,389,000 expansion will add 11,400 sq. ft. to the existing 6,500 sq. ft. library to make room for more meeting and study rooms, additional seating for a variety of patron needs, a dedicated teen area and more Internet/computer stations. The City of North Liberty committed $2 million in Tax Increment Financing to the project. A grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s Vision Iowa program for $622,484 left the library to procure private donations, grants and pledges of more than $766,000. Crowner announced in April that the goal was met, and in fact exceeded.
Friends of the Library board member Melissa Henley greeted those gathered on Sept. 30.
“What better way to celebrate, and make sure we are taking care of our residents,” said Henley. “The fact that the $3.3 million goal was met and exceeded in less than one year shows the support of patrons and the community for this expansion.”
Crowner also thanked the community, and gave a sentimental acknowledgement to long-time volunteer Faye Clinton, who recently turned 96 years old.
“Faye worked at the library even before I came,” said Crowner, shedding a few tears. “She’s been around forever. It’s because of people like her that we are here today.”
State Senator Bob Dvorsky was also on hand to congratulate the library staff.
“This is tremendous for the community,” Dvorsky said. “It’s amazing how much support there is for libraries in this entire area.”
City Administrator Ryan Heiar said architects for Neumann Monson should bring a design before the city council for its approval yet this year, with construction slated to begin in the spring of 2012 and a completion date of 2013.