Library district won’t receive state grant

Nick Vlahos

Construction of a new library in Germantown Hills has become a bit more difficult.

The Illinois Prairie District Public Library’s application for a state grant was rejected. Grant Fredericksen, the district director, said he received Illinois State Library notification July 3, shortly before the district board’s regular monthly meeting.

“They spent all the money before they got to us,” Fredericksen said.

According to the state library, 47 Illinois Public Library Construction Act grant applications were received, and funding requests totaled more than $112 million. Only $50 million in grants was available.

In February, the library district conducted a public meeting to discuss construction of a new facility in Germantown Hills. The current library building is 62 years old and about 1,400 square feet.

“Basically, it’s a two-bedroom house,” Fredericksen said at the time.

Financing appeared to be a concern among some meeting attendees. A proposed 10,500-square-foot structure could cost between $1.9 million and $2.8 million. A state grant could have paid up to 47 percent of the cost.

“It was not unexpected,” Fredericksen said about the rejection. “I know of one library that scored better than us in the construction-grant lottery, and they didn’t get it, either.”

The library district can be considered for future grants. But the state library indicated there is no way to know if or when more grant money will become available.

Fredericksen said he isn’t sure how the district board will proceed. Other financing options are available - a mortgage, fundraisers, a bond referendum or a request for a tax-rate increase, he said. A smaller, less-expensive structure also might be considered.

“I’d rather keep it going,” Fredericksen said about the project. “If we come to a grinding halt, people are not going to be happy.”

The library district also has facilities in Benson, Metamora, Roanoke, Spring Bay and Washburn.