By Kim West
The fundraising campaign for the new Athens-Limestone Public Library received a boost this week with a $25,000 grant from the Limestone County legislative delegation.
State Rep. Dan Williams, R-Athens, and state Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, visited the current library across from Julian Newman Elementary School for Wednesday’s check presentation.
Williams said the grant comes from TVA in-lieu-of-tax funds disbursed by the five-member delegation, which includes state representatives Mac McCutcheon and Mickey Hammon and state Sen. Bill Holtzclaw.
“There is a renewed fundraising effort, and they’re starting the push toward renovating the inside of the new library,” Williams said. “The library’s foundation called the delegation and all five members of the delegation were consulted and agreed to the grant.”
Fundraising consultant Debbie Joyner said the money would go toward the foundation’s building campaign, which records show has raised $6.1 million in pledges and donations.
The total includes $1 million from the library’s Southard Trust endowment, a $1 million matching grant from the Dekko Foundation and $500,000 from a planned estate gift.
“I appreciate all of what the board members have done, and I’m looking forward to coming to the ribbon-cutting,” Orr said. “I know it’s been a long and winding road.”
Work on the new library in the former Kroger building on South Jefferson Street began in June 2013 with the six-month Phase I exterior. The overall project is expected to be complete by June, according to Project Manager Kerrick Whisenant of the Limestone Building Group.
The interior remodeling for the second phase will begin when bid packages are returned by the end of this month and approved by the construction committee, City Council and County Commission.
“We are very appreciative of this support as we begin Phase II of the construction project,” said Susan Ming, vice president of the foundation. “The library will benefit everyone in our community, and we are thankful that so many individuals and businesses have joined the effort.”