Land donated to library: Anonymous donor gifts it toward purchase of new library or expansionAn anonymous donor has gifted land worth approximately $900,000 to the James River Valley Library System to be put toward a new library or expansion of facilities.
By: By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
An anonymous donor has gifted land worth approximately $900,000 to the James River Valley Library System to be put toward a new library or expansion of facilities.
Dale Marks, chairman of the JRVLS Library Board, announced the donation Wednesday and challenged the public to match or exceed the anonymous donation.
“This person is going to donate one half-section of land to help buy the Essentia site and get it started, a new library,” Marks said. “… with that, we have a start.”
The donor, who lives in Stutsman County, called Marks a few weeks ago about the 320-acre donation.
“This is exciting,” said Library Board member Judy Brueske.
The Library Board would still prefer to use the funds to purchase the Essentia site for the building of a new library — which would consolidate the materials at Alfred Dickey Library and Stutsman County Library into one building.
However, in order to purchase the former Essentia Clinic location, both the Stutsman County Commission and the Jamestown City Council would need to approve the transaction.
The Library Board asked the City Council and the commission to purchase the Essentia site in 2011 in order to build a new consolidated library, but both bodies voted it down.
During a Jan. 23 meeting this year, a member of the Library Board asked Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen whether the Library Board could purchase the lot if it had the funds to do so, or if someone donated the space outright.
“Perhaps. That only purchases the lot. That doesn’t build the building or anything like that,” Andersen said. “I wouldn’t want to do anything that would move towards additional funding in the future.”
The most recent pricing for a shovel-ready Essentia site, with the existing building and its asbestos removed, was $690,000, a price Andersen has called “an exorbitant amount of money” in the past.
After hearing about the donation Wednesday, the Library Board discussed whether to use some of the money to hire a consultant to help raise money for its building project.
One possibility would be hiring Bill Kennedy as development director for $40 an hour, when his current position with Ave Maria Village draws to an end.
The Library Board decided to find out whether the Essentia site is still available and whether the cost has changed, and speak with City Attorney Ken Dalsted to find out what steps need to be taken next regarding any possible contract with Kennedy.
“Fairly soon we’re going to have to approach the city and county and clear that hurdle,” said Joe Rector, library director.
“People could commit to a donation, but it wouldn’t be absolutely final until we get permission from the county and the city …,” Marks said.
“Unless someone comes forward and buys the Essentia site and donates it,” Brueske replied. “Then we’ve got a double-whammy good thing.”
Anyone interested in donating funds to the library should call Rector at 252-2990 or write to 105 Third St. SE, Jamestown, ND, 58401.
In other news Wednesday, the Library Board:
* discussed changing providers for the library system’s website.
* fixed some contradictory language in the employee manual about vacations. The board also changed how employees accrue vacation to alleviate a staffing issue, adding a cap on vacation time and eliminating an annual deadline for vacation use.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at email@example.com