Keep your hard hats on |

Keep your hard hats on

Post IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Construction projects are under way or in the planning stages in New Castle and Silt.

Residents in New Castle began using the temporary library facility, located in the shopping center by City Market at 820 Castle Valley Blvd., in February as construction got under way downtown. The renovation of the old library building has begun, and crews will be adding 6,000 square feet to its main floor. Some of the improvements include a large community meeting room, access to the library’s local history collection, dedicated children’s and teen spaces and study rooms. The entire main floor of the library will be renovated with a total project cost of around $2.3 million. The architect on the project is A4 Architects of Carbondale and the project is being managed by B&H General Contractors of Glenwood Springs. Construction on the new facility should take about 10 months, and the library is expected to reopen in early 2012.

The Library District took a huge step forward in Silt in March with the acquisition of property at the corner of Seventh Street and Home Avenue. Next door to the Silt Town Hall and across the parking lot from the existing library, the new site will allow for the construction of a 7,500 square foot building. The existing library will remain and will be taken over by the town government for other purposes. The new library will feature a community room and expanded space for books, computers and seating. The Library District is working with the town to develop a joint parking lot and civic plaza area as part of the project. Construction could start as early as this fall.How the projects are fundedWhy is the Library District spending money on construction projects now, and where does it come from? When the Library District was formed in 2007, voters approved a 1 mill property tax for 20 years to construct and operate new libraries. All six libraries were in need of expansion at that time and the library board knew that inflation would eat away at the district’s ability to build if it waited too long to start. The Library District made the decision in 2009 to sell certificates of participation, and have financed four of the six county library projects this way. Despite the downturn in sales and property tax, the district intends to continue to aggressively pursue the remaining library projects in Garfield County to take advantage of current cost savings associated with the slower economy. – Library District Executive Director Amelia Shelley

Featured artist Betsy Blackard is the inaugural artist for the new Rifle Branch Library’s Art in the Stacks program. Blackard shows her love for color through portraits, animals, still life, and especially landscapes done in pastels. Among many honors, Blackard took second place in the 2008 Glenwood Springs Art Festival, and best of show and first place at the 2000 Garfield County Fair. She has lived on the Western Slope for 31 years and says, “There is no better feeling than to create a piece of art that pleases the viewer.” On Saturday, April 2 from 5-7 p.m., enjoy refreshments and a short talk during the Artist Reception in the Rifle Branch Library’s Community Room. Blackard’s work will be on display from April 2 to May 31 in the library’s Colorado Room. More information: 625-3471.

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