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Planning for new library continues

The design phase continues for the renovation and addition to the Alfred Dickey Library, as supporters of the project seek signatures in time for the Nov. 4 election.

“We’ve had a very good response from the public with the announcement that we were keeping the Alfred Dickey,” said Bill Kennedy, the library’s development director.

The plan is to renovate the space within the existing library — while making as few changes to its historic look as possible — and tear down the Maranatha building and the Maple Mall to make room for an addition to Alfred Dickey.

The Alfred Dickey’s façade will remain unchanged, Kennedy said, and efforts will be made to preserve the interior’s general structure and look as well.

Plans for the building will likely be released to local media and made available on the library’s website at www.james by the end of the summer, he said.

“People have been really receptive because we’re going to use the Alfred Dickey Library and build on to the north,” said Dale Marks, chairman of the James River Valley Library System Board of Directors.

The library project will include some additional parking places, as well as a garage for the bookmobile, and will allow the consolidation of Alfred Dickey Library and all the materials of the Stutsman County Library.

Together, the Alfred Dickey Library and Stutsman County Library have 14,600 square feet of space. After renovation and the addition, Alfred Dickey would have approximately 27,000 square feet of space. For a community the size of Jamestown, North Dakota State Library guidelines indicate a library of about 25,000 square feet at minimum.

Should voters approve the project, the cost of the renovation and addition would be $9 million, and taxpayers would pay for about $7 million. The rest would come from donations secured for the proposed project.

In order for the project to go forward, a simple majority of voters will have to approve its financing, a quarter-cent sales tax, on Nov. 4.

The sales tax will cost the average family in Stutsman County $33.75 per year, Kennedy said, and raise a total of around $700,000 per year for 10 years.

To get the issue on the ballot, library supporters must gather at least 1,452 valid signatures on a petition and turn it in 60 days before Nov. 4.

Kennedy said the library was working closely with Stutsman County staff to ensure the petition meets the guidelines of the North Dakota Century Code.

Volunteers soliciting signatures need to be qualified voters in Stutsman County, meaning they have lived in the county for 30 days, are citizens and will be 18 years old by the date of the election, Nov. 4.

Those are also the qualifications needed for someone to sign the petition.

About two dozen people have already agreed to seek signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

Marks said he believes the signatures will be easy to get, but library supporters could use all the help gathering signatures that they can get.

“It’s going to be a crown jewel right there on Main Street, and I think people will be very proud of the library when we get it,” Marks said.

People interested in volunteering to collect signatures may call Kennedy at 252-2990 or email bil

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453                 or by email at