It’s inspiring news for the North Hastings region.
Ground has broken for a new building that will serve as a library and provide housing in downtown Bancroft.
Dozens of dignitaries and library supporters met at the site, off Cleak Avenue, Saturday morning. They didn’t let the pouring rain stop them from celebrating the monumental occasion.
Library staff, for several years, have been trying to find a way to fund a new building to replace the current one on Flint Avenue. It was built long before accessibility standards were in place.
CEO and head librarian Kim McMunn says they finally have the right formula. Most of the building’s costs will come from a roughly $1.9 million senior government grant. Contributions from the private housing developer and a planned $500,000 fundraising campaign will also cover some costs. That will limit the final costs for taxpayers in Bancroft, Limerick and Faraday Township, the three municipalities that fund North Hastings Public Library.
“It’s a like a dream come true,” McMunn says. “ Not just for myself. There have been a number people fighting for this.
“This is a building for everyone. People from all ages will be able to use this. We have everything from library space to community space, where people can gather. It’s not just a library. It’s going to be a dynamic piece of Bancroft.”
The building itself is being called the North Hastings Community Hub, but the area around it is being called the North Hastings Inspiration Place. Construction will begin any day now and the building could open by spring 2024.
And now that the ground has broken, some of the really hard work begins.
The fundraising campaign will play a key role in getting the new library building up and running.
Cheryl Easton is the chair of the capital campaign, to raise funds. So far, Easton’s work has involved mostly raising awareness of the project. But that work will now shift to bringing in the dollars.
“A lot of our funds will come from naming opportunities,” she says. “We have a menu of opportunities for the new build, whether it’s naming a room or an area. You can name the building if you want to and that comes with a price point.”
Easton will seek out philanthropists for big donations, but there will also be events for the whole community to participate in to raise funds.
“Now the community’s really going to see this come in earnest, with more events and ongoing appeals for support,” Easton says. “We do have some things in the works and there will be some surprises. The community can certainly look for those as they come up.”
Easton says donors can learn more information through the North Hastings Inspiration Place Facebook page, or by just dropping into the current Flint Street library.