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Library no longer a part of YMCA project

Posted on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 8:50 am

NEWS---YMCAThe Eastern Audrain Library/YMCA Project Steering Committee has mixed emotions after learning that the Vandalia Branch Library will no longer be a part of the vision for a combined facility in Vandalia.
This decision was made by the Mexico-Audrain Library Board during their October meeting.
“We do still want to have a facility in Vandalia,” said Kathy Kephart, who was named the director of the Mexico-Audrain Library System this past Summer. “We’re still looking for a possible location, trying to find something centrally located and with easy access…”
Kephart said there’s no timetable set for the process.
Eastern Audrain Library/YMCA Project Steering Committee Chairperson Felicity Goodpasture-Culwell said it was the library that helped create a vision for a YMCA in town.
“We need to thank the library for getting this whole thing started,” she noted. “If it wasn’t for the fact that we needed a new library and their intuition of seeing  we need a new library, we wouldn’t be where we are at today…This is a positive for both groups because we’re going to get two new buildings that can still serve each other.”
While there is some disappointment that the library will no longer be a part of the project, there is also a sense of excitement as the change makes the idea of Vandalia having a YMCA closer to becoming a reality.
New building designs will be needed as there will no longer be a need for a second level walking track, which was going to help with the noise level for the library. The remaining designs unveiled last December will likely go unchanged.
The change in square footage of the building will decrease the overall cost. Currently, there is $1.5 million raised for the project.
The committee is now looking to raise $500,000 to assist it in applying for a Mabee Grant, which would provide a matching $500,000. The goal is to perhaps apply for the last 20% matching grant in March 2016 with the hopes of being awarded the grant in April 2016.
With another $1 million raised, the funds would push the needle to $2.5 million, which would be just $200,000-$400,000 away from completely paying for the project.
Goodpasture-Culwell said the committee had hoped to apply for the Mabee Grant December 1 before learning about the library’s new direction.
The land where the building will be constructed on Main St. is through a long term land-only lease signed with the Vandalia Recreation Corporation in September 2013. The City of Vandalia will continue to own the land but the VRC will own the new building and lease the space to the YMCA with a long term lease agreement.
The VRC is a non-profit organization with a 501c3 tax exempt status.
To donate, Goodpasture-Culwell says those interested can contact her or Terri Jungers.
Official pledge forms are available on the project’s website at http://ymcalibrary.org/
Donations of $500 or more will be honored on a Recognition Wall and all donations will be honored in a Recognition Book.