UNION COUNTY — The Union County Carnegie Library is asking for the public’s help in raising the $100,000 it still needs to pay for renovations that will make it completely handicapped accessible and provide more space for community activities.
In November 2015, City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson announced that a $304,346 Community Development Block Grant had been awarded to help fund the Library’s ADA Project. The ADA Project is a part of a larger program of renovations the library is undertaking which, when completed, will give the library handicapped accessible parking, entrances, doorways, bathrooms; installation of a fire system with audible and visible warnings; handicapped accessible stations for computers; and an elevator to the lower level of the library which will also be renovated. The renovations to the lower level of the library are designed to provide more space for patrons as well as providing more space for local organizations interested in using them for meetings or special events.
When the grant was announced, Robert Moody, Senior Planner for the Catwaba Regional Council of Governments, said the renovations would benefit 5,407 disabled low- to moderate-income Union County residents ages 18 and over.
In addition to the CDBG funds, the State of South Carolina has also allocated $1.25 million in lottery funds for the renovations and the library has been conducting its own fundraising efforts.
On Tuesday, Library Director Rieta Drinkwine briefed Union County Council on the progress of the project and the efforts to raise the balance of the funds needed for the project to be put out to bid.
“Our plans are being reviewed by the city,” Drinkwine said. “We’re also waiting for approval from the Department of Archives and History. We’re also waiting for the environmental review. Once we clear all those reviews we should be ready to go to bid in September.”
Even if the library clears all those reviews now under way, Drinkwine said it will not be able to put the project out to bid if it does not have the required funds.
“We cannot go to bid until we secure all the funding,” Drinkwine said. “We are about $100,000 short of the estimated project total.”
Drinkwine said that including the CDBG funds, the lottery funds, and the funds raised locally, the library has raised over $1.5 million but still needs to raise the remaining $100,000 in time to go out for bids on the project by September.
Beyond the ADA and other basic renovations, the project includes the renovation of the original section of the library built in the early 20th century. Drinkwine said the renovations would involve the historic restoration of that section which would then serve as a heritage center housing the library’s genealogical and local history departments and archives and be available not only for patrons, but also for receptions.
This portion of the renovations would cost an additional $230,000 beyond the cost of the ADA and other basic renovations.
Drinkwine said she is hoping the public will help the library raise the needed funding.
“The public is welcome to make donations to the library,” Drinkwine said. “We really hope the community will invest in the project to see it completed.
For more information about the project and/or making a donation call the Union County Carnegie Library at 864-427-7140.
This is an artist’s rendering of the Union County Carnegie Library ADA Project which will make the library handicapped-accessible. The library is in the process of raising the funding needed for the project and is asking for the public’s help in raising $100,000 so the project can go to bid in September.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.