Delmont library officials closer to funding new building
In just more than four years, Delmont Public Library officials, board members and patrons have raised about two-thirds of the $1.5 million they’ll need for a new building.
Donations have ranged from $10, donated by a local elementary school student, to a $200,000 pledge from an anonymous local family, to a recent $400,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
“If we can raise $400,000 more, we believe we can do it ourselves, without the Keystone (grant),” said library board member David Weber.
Library officials applied for a $750,000 Keystone state grant in 2018 but did not receive it.
“And, in fact, no one from Westmoreland received a Keystone grant,” Weber said. “But we’ve raised more money since then.”
While the Keystone grant would certainly put library officials over the top in terms of funding, Weber said it would also add cost to the overall process.
“There is more overhead, and there are prevailing wage issues there as well,” Weber said.
If the project were funded without the Keystone grant, “it may cost about $1.25 million instead of $1.5 million,” Weber said.
Weber said his preference would be to make the library’s goal without the Keystone funding.
“It would mean less entities involved,” he said. “We’re also all concerned that we could go through the Keystone process and be denied again … The real issue is that if we delay again, our costs go up due to things like inflation and tariffs.”
The new library would be 4,150 square feet, and will include a number of “green” features including solar paneling and a cistern to collect storm water from the roof that will be used for irrigation and landscaping.
Librarian Denni Grassel is focused on the benefits a new building will offer.
“The two big things we’re doing are enlarging the children’s area and adding a community room,” Grassel said. “The whole design was to accommodate more space, so that the library can be a place for people to meet.”
Weber said library officials will have finished architectural drawings delivered in March. Having gone through the borough’s planning process, once funding is in place, the building can begin.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Grassel said.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .