EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — East Dubuque District Library officials on Thursday announced a capital campaign for a $1.6 million expansion project.
The 3,000-square-foot expansion would add space for a community room, children’s department, private rooms and additional storage. An outdoor amphitheater also is planned.
Library staff and members of the library foundation expressed great enthusiasm for the project, largely because $833,000 has been secured already, while an additional $400,000 donation has been promised — by a family that wants to remain anonymous — if the remaining $400,000 can be raised in the capital campaign.
“That puts us in a remarkable position, where 75% of the funds needed have already been granted or pledged, provided we raise the remaining $400,000,” said Jerry Enzler, a member of the foundation. “It’s a tremendous day to be able to say that this dream has every possibility of becoming a reality.”
Library officials long have tried to secure funding to expand the library at 122 Wisconsin Ave.
They last took the issue to voters in 2014, asking them to sign off on $1.33 million in bonds, but it came up short.
However, Enzler said this new campaign by the library appears more promising in garnering support from the community.
“This campaign isn’t trying to compel people to pay for the project by raising everyone’s taxes,” he said. “It’s asking those that believe in the library to make the donation themselves, and I think there is generally more pride in something when you willingly give to it.”
Last December, library officials had announced a smaller expansion project spurred by a $400,000 grant from CVR Partners, a Texas-based company that operates the East Dubuque nitrogen fertilizer plant.
But after the donation was announced, Library Director Brian Gomoll said, a local family offered to donate an additional $400,000 if officials were able to secure $400,000 in community fundraising. The library then landed a $433,000 grant from Illinois’ Public Library Construction Grant Program.
“This kind of an opportunity for that $433,000 is not going to come around again,” Gomoll said. “That was quite a bit of work, and we’ve been trying that plan for a number of years.”
Enzler said library officials believe they can secure the remaining $400,000 in time to begin construction in the spring. The project will take 12 to 18 months to complete.
“When a family looks at East Dubuque, one of the first questions is always about educational opportunities for their children,” said Mayor Kirk VanOstrand. “With this exciting new project, our library can provide a facility that the city can be proud of.”
Gomoll said much of the expansion will be used as a community space to be utilized by residents and local organizations. Along with library activities, the community room also could host wedding receptions and other events.