Empowering individuals to build a stronger community
The county began moving forward on their signed contract with the Department of Housing and Community Development, DHCD, at a Town Hall meeting on May 23 at 6:00 p.m. The grant is an allocation of $30,000 for a feasibility study of a library/community center. This meeting is a follow up to the public January meeting which was the “The Project Mobilization” meeting at the high school.
Eddie Wells of the Alleghany Regional Commission, our Craig County representative, and Christina Owens of DHCD, led the town hall meeting. Work generated by this grant will include: feasibility study, staffing & operations plan, and improvement plan. These documents will support the next grant application for a Community Development Block Grant of $700,000.
Eddie Wells will meet with Clay Goodman, our County Administrator, and Martha Murphy, Simmonsville District Board of Supervisor Representative, to define the items requested for this grant in the form of a RFP, Request for Proposal. This will be publicly advertised. Eddie will review the proposals and contract a consultant in August for work to be completed in December. There will be a public meeting to present the work being done in this proposal. By February, Eddie will complete the requirements of this grant and in March, present them to the County Board of Supervisors.
The library will provide Eddie with documents they have developed in support of this grant: current construction costs, programming information, and state-wide-library comparisons. We have requested a business plan including partnering with existing community agencies and services and an engineered site plan of the existing conditions of the two lots as one parcel.
The library wants to research not only what it costs to build and staff this project but more importantly where does the money come from to build and sustain this building. Our efforts are not to burden or divide the community of limited financial resources but the exact opposite. We hope to better support what is in place right now, help expand those efforts, and most importantly, give better options of self-sufficiency for the next generation. Tax burdens and dependencies can only shift when there is opportunity for individual growth.
People have come to the library in ways never expected. They are showing us what is being sought in their own backyards. Over spring break the library found our kids finishing school projects with access to computer and the internet they don’t have in their homes. Social Services have used the welcoming setting of our kid’s area to have supervised parental visits with their children. Local service providers are taking on-line courses to maintain certifications to better serve our community. A Visitor Center can draw dollars to support our hard-working downtown businesses. These are only the first ideas. The more we can partner with the many services in our community, the more we can develop ideas of collaboration to strength all our efforts. We need to keep the conversation going. Let’s not divide our efforts. Let’s come to the table and share ideas. This belongs to all of us.
Contact Carla Ritzler, the library director, if you have any questions or ideas to discuss. The telephone number for the library is 540-864-8978.
Jennifer Lovejoy, Library volunteer
Dates to remember:
Board of Trustees meeting June 12, 6 pm at the library
All Summer: Books and Baseball reading program
July 8th Wheels for Kids event at Craig County Fairgrounds