Hopes revived for new Galesburg Public Library from state grant

Over five years ago the Galesburg Public Library applied for a state construction grant program for public libraries.

But after almost six years without funding for the program, a $45 billion state infrastructure package has breathed new life into the possibilities of a new library in Galesburg.

Library Board President Laurie Muelder explains the grant is distributed based on community need, which plays to Galesburg’s advantage.

$50 million was marked for the Public Library Construction Act, the first funding since 2013.

Library Trustee Board President Laurie Muelder says Galesburg was in the third position to be funded back then.

Since then one library has apparently dropped their application and the other is Winchester in Scott County.

That leaves Muelder and other trustees cautiously optimistic that the Galesburg Public Library will receive $16 million through the program to construct a new library on Main Street.

Galesburg has enough low-income population to qualify for the state paying 75 percent of the roughly $21 million in costs of the project.

Muelder says the current library was only meant to be temporary, but now its fifty years old and showing it.

“..plumbing problems, heating and cooling problems, electrical problems, and we have an excellent staff — they’re really outstanding. Cause, they just soldier on in the midst of all this”

The Library Foundation has $3 million and the City of Galesburg extended a $2 million loan last month that will essentially give GPL all the funds they need for a new library if the state grant is approved.

“I think if the grant is awarded, as it sounds it’s going to be, we’re almost sure to get it. I don’t want to say [we’re] positive — we don’t know yet. I will be very surprised if we don’t.”

Muelder says it is possible that construction would start within a year of the grant being received.

Tags: ,