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Platteville library fundraising campaign under way
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You need not work in construction to notice significant progress taking place on Platteville’s Library Block construction project.

The basement, metal framing and first-floor flooring is in place for the new Platteville Public Library and Holiday Inn Express motel on the block bordered by West Main Street, South Chestnut Street, West Pine Street and South Elm Street.

West Main Street between Elm and Chestnut is closed today and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for crane work, and will be closed two days next week, according to the city website.

While the building begins to take shape, library supporters are embarking on a $500,000 fundraising campaign to equip the library in time for its scheduled completion March 17.

The Platteville Library Foundation’s Our Library, Our Future campaign is raising money to replace current library furnishings that do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act and building code requirements, purchase new size-appropriate shelving for the children’s section, purchase new shelving for large-print books, replace furniture built for the current library, and update library technology.

The new 22,000-square-foot library will replace the current library, which is less than half that size. Adult fiction, periodicals and media collections are planned for the first floor. The Community Room and children’s areas are planned for the second floor.

After the new library opens, the current library will be remodeled for the Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program Neighborhood Health Partners clinic, which moved from its West Main Street location to the city Municipal Building to make way for construction.

The new building will have a large children’s space, community meeting rooms, expanded reading areas, and expanded technology, part of the reason for the Our Library, Our Future campaign.

The campaign has had several large donations already. The Woodward Foundation donated $25,000 for the board room, which will be named for the foundation.

“Our community has a unique opportunity to provide future generations with a beautiful library,” said library director Jessie Lee-Jones. “I am happy to see such support for the Platteville Public Library within Platteville, and beyond.”

Mound City Bank donated $10,000 for the Children’s Technology Center, which will be named for the bank.

“Not only are we looking forward to the added space for children’s services, but we are also excited to add technology upgrades,” said children’s library Erin Isabell. “The donation from Mound City Bank for the Children's Technology Center is going to help us become a true 21st-century library.”

The Platteville Community Fund gave a $10,000 grant through its Elinore Loveland Trust to the library foundation for furniture for the children’s area.

According to campaign literature, named gift opportunities have been taken for the community living room, children’s literacy area, and adult fiction and nonfiction collections. Numerous other named gift opportunities are available.

Small gifts will be accepted as well. Platteville Middle School’s Student Council raised $144 for the library through a fundraiser.

Work on the project was delayed shortly after it began due to concerns over the soil’s ability to bear the load of the building. As a result, the project, the library portion of which was initially planned to be completed at the end of the year, is scheduled to be completed in March or April.

According to campaign literature, the city and Library Board began determining the need for a library expansion in 2009. The city approved the Library Block developer’s agreement last November.

The $16 million project is funded in part by federal New Market Tax Credits. The city will be paying the developer $1.5 million over seven years in a lease, paid for by general tax revenue or potential Tax Incremental Financing district revenue.

In return, the city is getting guaranteed tax increments — $100,000 in 2017 and $155,000 per year from 2018 to 2024, and $125,000 per year from 2025 to 2036. The total is $2.685 million, with $1.03 million of that during the expected seven-year library lease.

The city’s Library Block Frequently Asked Questions states that the city will receive $3 million in return over 20 years from the $2 million loan from Tax Incremental Financing District 7. Besides the guaranteed increment of $2.685 million, the remaining $315,000 is expected to come from TIF revenue, either from TIF 7 or one of the city’s two donor TIF districts.

More information on the campaign, including online donations, is available at Donation checks can be mailed to the Platteville Library Foundation, P.O. Box 358, Platteville, WI 53818, or presented in person at the library.