Saturday, October 25, 2003

Library construction funds to be awarded Tuesday

The California Public Library Construction and Renovation Board will evaluate applications and award construction grants, 1 p.m. this Tuesday, Oct. 28.

It is then that proponents of a new Middletown Library will know whether or not they have the money they need to proceed with construction.

District 1 Supervisor Ed Robey has organized a vanload of people to travel to Sacramento and lobby on the project's behalf. On Wednesday, Robey indicated that attendees will include Middletown School Superintendent Robert Gomez and school board President Dauna Elledge-Burns. The meeting takes place in the Central Valley Room, on the second floor of the CalEPA Building, 1001 I St. in Sacramento.

Tuesday's awards represent the second cycle of Library Bond Act funding, money raised through the passage of Proposition 14 in March of 2000. The California Reading and Literacy Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act designated a total of $350 million in funding, to be distributed during three funding cycles.

The grant process is highly competitive. From an available pot of $110 million, 66 agencies have asked for a total of $547 million. When allocating these funds, the state gives first priority to joint-use projects between the operating agency and one or more school districts. The County of Lake is partnering with the Middletown Unified School District to create a combined public and high school library .

Tuesday's meeting includes a welcome and introductory remarks by Dr. Kevin Starr, state librarian of California. The agenda also includes opportunity for making public comment.

Second-cycle grant awards are scheduled for Tuesday's meeting. If the county's application is unsuccessful, the bond's final funding cycle has a deadline of Jan. 16, 2004.

Originally published in the Clear Lake Observer American

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