FERNDALE - The city has received a $500,000 state grant for its new library that, when combined with matching funds from an anonymous donor, will mean a total of $1 million toward the project.
The grant comes from the Community Economic Revitalization Board.
The library was one of 18 projects picked to receive $10.9 million in grants to build public infrastructure to support community revitalization and economic development efforts, the state board announced Wednesday, Dec. 5.
City officials received the full amount they asked for, which shows the strength of the project, according to Mauri Ingram, CEO of Whatcom Community Foundation.
The project to build a new $5.4 million Ferndale Library is a collaboration of the city of Ferndale, Whatcom County Library System and Whatcom Community Foundation, and has been since 2009.
Supporters still need to raise another $540,000 to reach the total amount needed.
The city received the full grant amount requested, which reinforced what library supporters have been saying all along, Ingram noted.
"Libraries are such important institutions in helping to make sure that communities are vital," she said.
Ingram hoped that the grant would, in turn, encourage people who have been waiting to donate to see that now is the time to do so as the fundraising effort continues.
So does Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen.
"The tough part of a fundraising campaign is always the first part," he said. "We're right near the finish line and the last few dollars are easier to get than the first few dollars."
In October, Whatcom Community Foundation announced that an anonymous donor had pledged up to $1 million in matching funds to build the new library. With money remaining from that pledge, the mayor encouraged people to donate what they can - be it $2, $10 or $20 - because their donations would be doubled.
"Now is a good time because even if you give $2, then it becomes $4," Jensen said. "Pennies contribute to great things."
The 15,000-square-foot library will be near City Hall on 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.
A new, larger library is needed to meet the increasing needs of a growing community, 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.
- by sending a check payable to Whatcom Community Foundation. Write New Ferndale Library Project on the memo line and mail the check to: Whatcom Community Foundation, 119 Grand Ave., Suite A, Bellingham, WA 98225.
Reach KIE RELYEA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2234.