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Libraries awarded $35,000 grant

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Photo submitted Delta County Libraries received a $35,000 State Historical Fund grant to produce construction documents for Delta Library, a designated historic site.

Delta County Libraries is the recipient of a $35,000 grant from the State Historical Fund (SHF) to draft revised construction documents for Delta Library. The grant is an important step in an ongoing, multi-phase project to preserve the Delta Library, a site designated as historic by the State of Colorado.

According to its website, "The State Historical Fund is a statewide grants program that was created by the 1990 constitutional amendment allowing limited gaming in the towns of Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk. The amendment directs that portion of the gaming tax revenues be used for historic preservation throughout the state."

There are three types of grants made available to applicants: competitive, non-competitive (10k or under), and certified local government grants. The grant the library district applied for was competitive and categorized as an "acquisition and development" project. Delta County Libraries received the maximum amount for the type of grant it applied for and was one of only 15 applicants awarded in that category for last April's deadline.

The announcement of a successful grant provides a great opportunity to remember the rich history of Delta Library. Dating back to 1901, the Delta Federated Women's Club officially formed, making it a priority to build an Andrew Carnegie Library. Delta County Commissioners donated the land, the local community donated $3400, and Andrew Carnegie awarded $6,500 to the women's club for construction of the original building in 1911.

Since then, several additions, frequent improvements and regular maintenance have been necessary to preserve Delta Library's historic quality while also providing the community with library services. The effort to rehabilitate the building with assistance from the state started in 2011 when the library district completed a historic structure assessment to identify the deficiencies of the building.

Then, in 2012, Delta County Libraries and City of Delta received a SHF grant to rehabilitate the deficiencies ranked as critical by the assessment, primarily the foundation. Also rehabilitated at that time were the brick and sandstone walls, the portico and associated columns, the wood cornice and other exterior elements.

"Now, with the current grant, the construction documents will address the remaining serious and minor deficiencies," explains LaDonna Gunn, assistant district director of Delta County Libraries and writer of the grant. "Specifically, the funds pay for our architect, Dennis Humphries of Humphries Poli in Denver, to provide us with a revised set of drawings and design documents."

The revision process will focus particularly on ADA accessibility, mechanical and electrical systems, and the interior ceilings, walls, floors, doors and windows, all in light of maintaining the historic integrity of the building.

"I want our county residents to recognize that we -- Delta County -- have a Carnegie library," says Gunn. "Grand Junction does not have one; Montrose does not have one; none of our surrounding neighbors on the Western Slope have a Carnegie, but we do. That is something to protect and celebrate."

Lea Hart, district director of Delta County Libraries, could not agree more. "We are thrilled to be a recipient of this grant and we look forward to engaging with the community through the process so stay tuned for upcoming events."

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