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Library seeks answers before accepting grant

(Josh Peckler –
The Marengo-Union Library in Marengo on Monday. The McHenry County Board is doing a careful reading of the terms of the $500,000 grant being offered by the state.

MARENGO – The Marengo-Union library will have to wait a little longer to receive more than $500,000 from the state to move to a larger, renovated space on Grant Highway.

Board members this month decided to postpone a vote on accepting the grant, saying they needed time to review the terms of the contract.

The library board was notified of the $543,715 state grant this summer, state library spokesman Pat McGuckin said.

The board intends to use the money for a portion of the library’s $2 million renovation of the former Miceli drapery plant at 19714 E. Grant Highway.

“We just want to know what we are accepting before we accept it,” board President Jude Schmidt said. “If you don’t understand what the ramifications are before accepting, then you don’t accept it.”

Officials are being tight-lipped about what questions they have about the grant. Member Jay Filler started contacting officials from the Secretary of State’s Office days before Christmas with questions.

Filler said acceptance of the grant won’t be before the board until after Monday.

The grant is a part of the state library’s construction grant program administered by Secretary of State Jesse White. Marengo is one of 16 projects selected this year for funding.

Marengo-Union library officials had sought the grant money for more than a year.

In June 2011, the group bought the 30,000-square-foot drapery plant for $1.2 million, with an eye toward $785,000 in renovations. Aside from the grant, a newly formed fundraising committee has been meeting to craft a campaign to pay for the project.

The group also has been contemplating a loan to cover the remaining project costs.


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