Library seeks fundraising help

In case you hadn’t noticed, things are a bit in flux at the regular home of the Mesa County central library at Fifth Street and Grand Avenue. Construction and demolition crews have set up shop behind chain-link fencing, as the main branch of the county library gets started on a $6.7 million face-lift and expansion.

On Tuesday, the public is invited to help kick off a fundraising drive to offset some of the costs associated with the project at an event hosted by the Mesa County Public Library Foundation.

The foundation has committed to raise $1.25 million to help fund the expansion but up to now has been working behind the scenes applying for grants to reach its total. But Tuesday, the public phase of their fundraising efforts gets under way at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the Alpine Bank building downtown.

“This is the part where we involve the community, where people can really get involved with the project before the library opens.” said Bob Kretschman, spokesman for Mesa County Libraries.

Two separate ballot initiatives to build a new central library failed in the recent past — but a coalition including the Mesa County Public Library District, the foundation, the Friends of the Mesa County Libraries and a number of government entities and private businesses have committed to raising the money for the project.

“We’ve heard a lot through the years from folks, ‘We don’t understand why it didn’t pass. I would pay more in my taxes,’” Kretschman said. “So this is a chance for somebody to give to help the project, to help provide those extra touches that will make it a really top-notch facility.”

The new central branch — expected to be complete in the spring — will refresh all areas of the library, as well as add 9,000 new square feet and a host of new features for the 1,500 people who regularly visit the library each day.

Folks attending the Tuesday event will also get a first glimpse at some of the detailed improvements planned for the inside of the new library, including a patio space, mezzanine, events area and the fiction reading area.

“It’s going to be a really awesome space in there,” Kretschman said.

The foundation has set the goal of raising $250,000 through its public campaign, which officially begins on Tuesday.

People interested in helping reach that goal can write a check, in any amount, addressed to the Mesa County Public Library Foundation, P.O. Box 3668, Grand Junction, 81502.


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