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December 4, 2011

Peru library asks for assistance with remodeling

Board seeking $1 million from Miami County for revitalization project.

Bunker Hill — The Peru Library board is hoping to secure county funding to begin work on a $3 million remodeling project.

Barrie Rassi, board president, said the board has been working for six years on the project to revitalize the building that first opened in 1902. Board members are seeking $1 million from the county to proceed with the project.

The plan is to connect the library with the adjacent museum building and to reduce the five different levels to three.

“There is a lot of wasted space,” Rassi said. “There are no furnishings and no public spaces. There is no central air conditioning and no insulation in the walls. The electric system is not capable of handling the computer systems.”

Once funding is obtained, Rassi said the library will have to find a new location for approximately one year while the remodeling work takes place.

The library serves all of Miami County, except for one township, he said.

“We are presenting a two-pronged approach,” Rassi said of the request for county funding. “It is an essential public service and adds to the quality of life in Miami County.

“We are not as valuable to the community as we could be,” he said. “With the emphasis on education and economic development, a revitalized library could have an impact.”

The Peru Common Council has voted to issue $2 million in bonds, but the plan is contingent on the county providing some funding.

Rassi said the request from the county is $50,000 in each of 20 years.

The library board first requested the county commit the money from the Economic Development Income Tax revenues, a request that was opposed by the Miami County Economic Development Authority.

Rassi said the county has a balance of $2,255,000 in the EDIT account.

“There are also a number of projects coming off the books in 2012,” he said. “The library project is two or three years down the road; we’re looking for a commitment from the county.”

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