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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
After waiting for nearly a decade for the funding to come through for a significant addition, Winchester’s public library ceremonially broke ground on its addition last Thursday.
Dozens of community members and public officials were on hand to commemorate the historic occasion.
On hand were representatives from U.S. Congressman Darin LaHood’s office, the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Illinois State Library, as well as many current and former local elected officials.
Winchester Mayor Rex McIntire recognized the work of USDA and State Library officials to make the library expansion a reality. He also recognized Benton & Associates and Winchester City Attorney John Paul Coonrod for assisting with grant applications to procure the necessary funds for the project.
McIntire’s remarks at the groundbreaking also emphasized the importance of the public library to the community, especially to families and young people in the community who may not otherwise have access to books and information technology available to the public at the library.
The addition was made possible by grants from the Illinois State Library and the United States USDA.
The original grant application was made to the Illinois State Library approximately 10 years ago, however the state legislature did not allocate funds for additional grants until this year.
Because the grant award was based on a decade-old budget for the project, bids for the project came back significantly higher than the grant award received from the Illinois State Library.
To bridge the funding gap, USDA made available to the City of Winchester a $270,000 Capital Facility Grant.
The $270,000 grant, according to USDA’s Dwight Reynolds, was the largest Capital Facility Grant ever to have been awarded.
McIntire said he anticipates preliminary work on the addition to commence this fall and for the expansion project to complete by late 2022.