Rochelle News-Leader | Approval of Creston’s new library: “It was overwhelming to see the results”

CRESTON — The Creston-Dement Library District Board met last week following its referendum passed late last month that will allow it to issue $2.2 million in bonds to build a new library building.

“It was a huge sigh of relief,” said board chairman Doug Kroupa. “It’s like waiting for the ball to see if you’re going to be asked to go. Everyone was just ecstatic after election day. But we still have a lot of work to do. Let’s get to work and do it right.

The total cost of the project is $2.6 million. At least $400,000 of this amount will be covered by grants. With an interest rate of 3.75%, which is the lowest and where the market is right now, the property tax increase for a homeowner of $100,000 will be $72 on a annual. At 4.75%, the worst case scenario for an interest rate, this is a property tax increase of $79 per year for a $100,000 home.

The process of bringing a new library to Creston took about 10 years. The main reason for the desire for a new building is for the library to outgrow its current space at 107 S. Main St. The new library will be built at the corner of Main and Cederholm streets on land that was donated years ago for a new library.

A total of 163 votes were seen on the issue in the Dement precinct with 117 votes in favor of the new library and 46 against. Kroupa called it “overwhelming” to see the results. He went to the polls a second time late in the day after voting earlier to see what the turnout was.

“It was higher than expected,” Kroupa said. “The library was created for the community. Since then, we have tried to ensure that it is active and meets the needs of the community. The results of the referendum show that we meet their needs and that people want it to develop. We are working this summer to strengthen programs at the library. We are growing and the new facility will make it easier to accommodate more people. And it’s for all ages. The accessibility of the new building will make it easier for people to enter.

The new library is expected to be a 7,500 square foot high-sustainability building with children’s space, adult space, study rooms, meeting facilities, staff space, bathrooms that could be used as storm shelters, storage space, patio, handicap parking and 30-space parking.

The library board is still awaiting official certification of election day results, which usually takes around 30-60 days, but has little to worry about as the vote is almost a three-to-one ratio of ” yes “.

“We are very happy,” Kroupa said. “A lot of hard work has gone into the people of the Library District. There is still a lot of work to do as well. If things go according to plan, we would break ground and begin construction early next year. Prices are starting to stabilize and maybe even drop. We have to put out tenders and then we will know the exact prices.

Kroupa thinks that most building materials should be readily available to build the library. With the current supply chain economic issues, some items may be difficult to obtain. Good and available transport logistics will also be necessary.

The bidding process will take the library board the rest of 2022. Kroupa hopes to complete the exterior structure of the new building in late spring or summer 2023 before interior work can begin.

“It would be wonderful to complete it in 2023, but that’s overkill,” Kroupa said. “Late 2023 or early 2024 is our hope.”

Over the past 7-10 years, in an effort to get a new library, specialists have been brought in to help the council focus on what a library in Creston should be. He spoke with area schools and community groups, held focus groups and met with architects.

Kroupa said the board wanted to make sure it was doing something “reasonable, acceptable and necessary for the community.” The council plans to continue to seek more grants to reduce costs to ratepayers.

“We had people who donated who were convinced it was the right need,” Kroupa said. “We had donated goods as well as money, goods and services. There has been a lot of community support to get us to this point. This is one of the biggest companies the Creston-Dement area has seen in a long time. It focuses on the needs of the people who live here.

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