February 21, 2024

Council declines fund source for library

Creston City Council denied a request Tuesday from library director Danielle Dickinson Thaden of using $16,500 of the city’s remaining America Rescue funds for accessories at the library’s outdoor pavilion, which is under construction.

Last year, the library planned and had some construction for its outdoor pavilion, to be located on the open space south of the library building. The pavilion space will allow some events that attract larger crowds to attend.

Dickinson Thaden requested a city funding source to purchase additional items for the pavilion, including park benches, trash cans, chairs and tables.

“Actual construction is due to start hopefully the end of this month,” she said. The goal is to have it finished in April.

“If you have been in our space, you know that is greatly improved over the last year, but we lack big spaces,” she said. What is known as the genealogy room holds a maximum of 42 people. She said some events attract more 200 people and the library has to use other facilities in town because of its lack of larger space.

The city has about $200,000 left in its American Rescue funds. Those funds were provided by the federal government to municipalities to recover revenue losses during the COVID pandemic. Council member Richard Madison asked if the pavilion was being funded by the library’s budget. Dickinson-Thaden added the library has had fundraisers for previous years in hopes of having a new, larger building, but those plans have been difficult to reach.

She said the library’s fundraising budget is still intended for a newer building and she wants to retain those funds as much as possible.

“Since other projects were funded through COVID dollars, that are very similar, park structures and the like, we thought this would go right along with the original goals of the covid funds,” she said.

Madison said he was in favor of the project and added the remaining COVID funds can be used for the city’s general funds. “The city is going to be in need of those,” Madison said. He also implied the state legislation of city’s capping certain levys. The ruling does not go into full effect until 2029.

Council members Jocelyn Blazek, Madison, Kiki Scarberry and Steve Wintermute voted no to the request. Members Martin Graham and Josh Thompson voted in favor. Council member Matt Levine was not in attendance.

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.