Several steps push cultural center project forward

The Thyen-Clark Cultural Center will unite the Jasper Public Library and Jasper Community Arts Commission under one roof at the former Hoosier Desk site at the corner of Third of Mill streets.

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

JASPER — The Jasper Public Library Board took several actions to move the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center along at its meeting Thursday.

The Thyen-Clark Cultural Center will bring the library and Jasper Community Arts Commission under one roof on the former Hoosier Desk site at the corner of Third and Mill streets. The last few months have been full of legal work for the cultural center core team, made up of representatives from the Jasper Public Library and the City of Jasper, leading to three actions by the library board Thursday.

First, the board approved Library Director Christine Golden to review bids for internet hardware for the cultural center and to sign a letter of intent with the most fitting provider. Although the project is months away from needing the hardware, the board needed to take action now because the library qualifies for Category 2 e-rate funding, which is a federal program that offers internet service and related products to schools and libraries at 60 percent discount.

Next, the board approved a request to combine the 30 parcels that currently make up the former Hoosier Desk site into four. The action will simplify processes going forward.

Finally, the board approved a resolution to allow the library to sell half of the site to the City of Jasper and to sell the library’s half of the land to the Jasper City Library LLC.

“Currently, the library owns the site,” Golden said. “We’ve always had the good faith agreement that the city would buy their portion when the time was right. Now, the time is right.”

This action is key to making the finance structure for the project work. The finance structure is similar to the building corporation structure that schools use for major projects. With direction from city and library officials, the LLC will manage the project, serving as the legal entity that sells bonds and enters contracts for the project, including the construction contract with Krempp Lumber of Jasper.

The city and library will also forward their monies for the project to the LLC, which will forward the funds to a trustee at Huntington National Bank to take care of paying bills during construction. Donations from the Jasper LEADs — Library, Enrichment, Arts and Downtown — fundraising campaign and the sale of tax credits the Indiana Economic Development Corporation awarded the project will also go through the LLC to the trustee.

Golden also updated the board about the process of selling the tax credits. Currently, the potential buyer is completing its due diligence work on the sale. Golden said that process should wrap up in about two weeks, with the sale of the credits closing in mid-March. That step is important because the LLC can’t sign the construction contract with Krempp Lumber until the sale is final, per a state law that says government entities cannot start projects they do not have the funds available to complete.

Although the process to get to construction is long and complicated, Golden said everything is on track for a groundbreaking in April.

 

The Jasper Public Library Board also:

• Heard that the library is looking for a bilingual library assistant who speaks English and Spanish.

• Heard that the Book Cellar, a used book store run by the Friends of the Jasper Public Library, is having a 50 percent off sale this month. The Book Cellar is located in the basement of the Jasper Library Annex, 1103 Main St., and will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

• Approved a resolution to make changes to the library’s bank accounts reflecting the new board officers. Board President Pamela Catt, Secretary Ann Shappard and Treasurer Phil Tolbert will be authorized to sign documents related to the bank accounts.




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