Phipps Foundation pledges $500K to Lakefront library projectThe Phipps Foundation has pledged $500,000 to help make the building at First and Vine streets the new home of the Hudson Area Joint Library.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
The Phipps Foundation has pledged $500,000 to help make the building at First and Vine streets the new home of the Hudson Area Joint Library.
The pledge is the biggest so far in the capital-campaign portion of the plan to buy and refit the former NMC building across from Lakefront Park.
The donation represents close to 10 percent of the $5.5 million campaign goal. Donations already received include $30,000 from the Library Foundation and donations from the families of the late Sandy Griswold and Georgia Weitkamp (see sidebar).
The project is relying on both public and private funding. The public portion will be decided in referendum questions that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot in the city of Hudson, village of North Hudson and the towns of Hudson and St. Joseph.
Phipps Foundation President John Clymer said the organization has a history of supporting projects that give “enhanced value to the community.” He said the board decided to make the gift after a presentation by Bye Barsness and others from the Hudson Library Foundation.
Clymer said the project fits the mission of The Phipps Foundation. “We look to fund those projects whose long-term vision will enhance the livability of the community.”
He added that situating the library in the neighborhood with The Phipps Center and Lakefront Park will serve to bring even more people to the area. “It will be a good compliment to both The Phipps Center and the lakefront.”
Foundation board member Ken Heiser agreed. “The building is the perfect location for the library. With it so close to the The Phipps Center, it creates the kind of synergy there that is good for everyone.”
Heiser echoed Clymer’s assessment. “The Phipps Foundation for years has been supporting local activities and projects and the board unanimously felt that this is an outstanding use of the foundation’s resources,” Heiser said.
Clymer said libraries in the information age have gone beyond just a place to check out books and have evolved into an even more broad-based community resource.
“This is a beautiful building and a wonderful opportunity. This is exactly what you want to happen. A project like this is good for the long-term economic health not only of the downtown but the Hudson area at large,” Clymer said.
Heiser, former president of First National Bank of Hudson, said that he hopes the foundation’s donation will inspire the voters and other capital campaign donors. “We all know we are in dire need of a new library. I hope our contribution at this level sends a solid message that The Phipps Foundation is in full support of this project and that it gives the communities involved the confidence that this effort can succeed.”
The last large donation made by the foundation was in support of the new Hudson Hospital.
For more information about the project, go to www.lakefrontlibrary.org and click on brochure.