FERNDALE - An anonymous donor has pledged up to $1 million in matching funds for the project to build a new library on Main Street.
If the community contributes $1 million, the total raised would be $2 million. And if those dollars are donated in the next few months, ground-breaking for the $5.4 million project could occur by next year.
"This is an exceptional opportunity," said Mauri Ingram, CEO of Whatcom Community Foundation. "This is our opportunity to bring it home."
The foundation is managing the fundraising campaign.
"We're just so grateful, said Norine Amend, president of Friends of Ferndale Library, of the $1 million match.
Amend and Ingram praised the community for donations made so far, noting that people have given what they could.
"One of the things that has been both heartening and challenging is that it's stayed alive and viable over the course of the recession," Ingram said of the fundraising effort.
They're hoping more contributions will come in during this match opportunity, including from first-time donors,
"Our smaller donations will add up twice as fast," Amend said. "Whatever the size, more small gifts will add up to one big gift."
Raising the full $2 million would close the gap needed for construction. If that happens, a couple of other funds could be accessed for the final needed dollars, according to Ingram.
The new 15,000-square-foot Ferndale Library will be near City Hall on the west end of Main Street.
It will have views of Mount Baker, plenty of natural lighting and more space for people to gather, including a community room for up to 80 people.
The project is a collaboration of the city of Ferndale, the Whatcom County Library System and the Whatcom Community Foundation.
A new, larger library is needed to meet the increasing needs of a growing community, its supporters have said.
In March 2011, the library moved into its temporary home in Pioneer Pavilion, 2007 Cherry St., giving up its old space at 2222 Main St., which was remodeled to become a new and larger police station.
Its old home on Main Street was 9,500 square feet. Its temporary home is 11,955 square feet.
HOW TO HELP
Contributions to the campaign to raise money for a new public library in Ferndale can be made:
online at newferndalelibrary.org/donate.
or by sending a check payable to Whatcom Community Foundation. Write New Ferndale Library Project on the memo line. Mail to Whatcom Community Foundation, 119 Grand Ave., Suite A, Bellingham, Wash., 98225.
Reach KIE RELYEA at email@example.com or call 715-2234.