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LISBON Lepper Library project delayed



Published: Wed, September 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Area businesses and the general public will be asked for aid in a fund-raising campaign slated to start this fall.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

LISBON -- Bricks and mortar won't be set into place this year as part of a long-planned expansion and renovation of the Lepper Library.

Officials have canceled construction bids taken this spring for the nearly $3.3 million project.

They will try in coming months to raise more funds for the undertaking, which they hope will begin next year, library director Nancy Simpson said Tuesday.

"We don't have the money" to start the project this fall as hoped, Simpson said. "It's not dead, just delayed," she added.

Library officials originally had hoped to start construction in spring 2001, but the effort has been repeatedly delayed, largely over funding shortages.

In the last several years, the library has come up with nearly $1.5 million toward the project. The library's finances would enable it to borrow another $1 million.

That funding picture still leaves the library about $800,000 short. Officials had hoped this summer to land enough pledges to close the funding gap by directly approaching certain individuals.

But, given the nation's shaky economy, it's been difficult getting people to commit to donating toward the project, Simpson explained.

Seeking pledges, grants

Library officials will continue seeking private pledges. The library is also trying to land a nearly $40,000 federal grant and about $150,000 in grants from private foundations.

On Nov. 1, the library will begin a fund-raising campaign aimed at area businesses and the general public.

Officials are hopeful the effort will raise about $1 million. Any money raised beyond the $800,000 project shortage will be used to reduce the amount the library will be forced to borrow, Simpson explained.

Plans call for constructing a nearly 12,000-square-foot addition on the east and north sides of the original 1897 structure at 303 E. Lincoln Way.

The addition will include more space for books, a garage for the library's bookmobile, a conference room, children's room and reference area.

Also planned is the razing of a nearly 2,000-square-foot addition installed on the library's north side in the 1960s.

The old addition isn't accessible to people with disabilities, and it has a leaky roof.

Once work begins, it's expected to take a year to 18 months to complete.




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