Center Point Close to Goal for Library and Community Center, But Deadline Looms

By Dave Franzman

CENTER POINT, Iowa- Supporters of a combined new library and community center in Center Point are very, very close to having all the money they need to start a $2.8-million dollar project. But some of the grants they’ve received, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, technically expire August 1st if the rest of the local match money isn’t in hand by then.

Fundraising started last August and Center Point Library supporters have 93 percent of the total pledged or in hand. But they still need to find the last $167,000 to make the project work — and in three weeks’ time

Library director Janine Walters and members of the library board aren’t too worried about the deadline. They expect the Linn County community to respond to the deadline challenge the way donors have up till now.

At just 4,300 square feet in size, the library isn’t much bigger than many larger homes. But homes don’t host an average of 350 patrons a day.

Walters said she didn’t think demonstrating the need for expansion and adding a first-ever community center would be much of a problem. She expected the problem to be raising that much money in a community of fewer than 2,500 people in a relatively short amount of time.

“We knew it was going to be a challenge to raise $2.8-million dollars. We thought we’d be fundraising for three years,” Walters said.

Walters said one of the largest pieces of the funding puzzle is $459,000 in the form of a grant from the state’s Vision Iowa program. Walters said that grant came with the deadline of August 1st to have the rest of the funding from local sources. But some of the other grant money for the Center Point Library also carries a deadline linked to the Vision Iowa money. In fact, falling short with the remainder of the local funding would put approximately $800,000 in grant funding in jeopardy.

Doris Dufoe, a library board member, said she isn’t too worried about the deadline because she feels donors will come through. She knows some donors have held off on their pledges until the community was closer to the goal. The message to them in the next three weeks will be the time is now.

“As we’ve gone around and talked to people, there are some who’ve said we’ll give $10,000 but they’re waiting until we get closer — or they’ve forgotten,” Dufoe said.

Dufoe said in the next three weeks, those folks who say they forgot their pledge will get another call. Those who also donated might get a call asking if they could give just a little more.

Barb Stallman, who already pledged to the project, doubts a lot of donors would say “no” with success so close.

“This is a town that supports the library and there are a lot of kids here that use the library and adults too. They’ll get it,” Stallman said.

Walters, the librarian, said it may be possible to get an extension of time from the groups providing that grants that gave a deadline. But library supporters would rather work hard the next three weeks, make the deadline and break ground on the project in October.

l Comments: (319) 368-8611; dave.franzman@sourcemedia.net

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