Library Effort Gets Another Major Financial Gift

Proposed Jasper Cultural Center

Proposed Jasper Cultural Center

Jasper (Local Sources) – The effort to build a proposed Jasper Cultural Center that will include a new Public Library has received a second major private financial gift this week.

The local non-profit group, Friends Of The Arts has announced it will give $100,000 to the effort if its approved by a voter referendum on November 8th.

The $100,000 gift is the largest to date to the fundraising effort headed by the local economic development group Jasper LEADS.   In addtion to raising money for the proposed cultural center project, it is also raising money for needed improvement at the soon-to-reopen Astra Theater, and proposed improvements on the downtown Jasper “square.”

Earlier this week, Springs Valley Bank & Trust Company announce a $75,000 investment to the Jasper Public Library Endowment held with the Dubois County Community Foundation.

Springs Valley Bank & Trust has also made a Pledge commitment of $30,000 to the Jasper LEADs Community Fund Drive, again conditioned upon passage of the Library referendum.


Friends Of The Arts was created for the purpose of supporting the arts and artistic endeavors in Jasper.

In a news release, the group says it made the gift to be equally invested in the construction of the proposed Jasper Cultural Center and an endowment at the Dubois County Community Foundation for its future.

“We have supported the Arts in Jasper for decades and believe our contribution to this important project shows we are focused on both the building of the facility as well as the ongoing sustainability of the Arts in Jasper. “Robert McCarty, president of Friends of the Arts, stated.

He goes on to say, “The $100,000 grant is the largest in the group’s history and builds upon the $50,000 gift made to The Next Act to support the Astra Theatre project.”   According to McCarthy, the $100,000 grant is part of the group’s effort to support the arts in downtown Jasper.

“The Community Foundation is excited to partner with both the Library and the Arts to administer endowments for their organizations’ long-term sustainability.” said Clayton Boyles, director of the Dubois County Community Foundation. “Having investments for current and future needs makes this a strong project for our community.”

“A growing and vibrant downtown is a catalyst for housing and commerce,” said Jamie Shinabarger, President & CEO. “The combination of these elements contributes to a robust economy, which benefits the community.”

“With a trusted partner in the Community Foundation, we are confident in our investment in the endowment,” said Craig Buse, Chief Operations Officer. “This investment shows our commitment to future growth and sustainability of our local community, the people we are here to serve on a daily

The Jasper LEADs effort began this past May with a goal of raising $8 million dollars for the three major downtown projects.  The effort has now raised a little more than half it goal.

The gift also establishes the Jasper Community Arts Commission’s first endowment.

“It’s something we’ve always wanted to do (the endowment), but we can’t use city money like that,” said Mike Jones, president of the Jasper Community Arts Commission.

The proposed Jasper Cultural Center is a joint venture among the Jasper Community Arts Commission, the Jasper Public Library Board and private developer, City Properties Group.  The new building would be constructed on the site of the former Hoosier Desk factory at 3rd Avenue and Mill Street if the referendum passes next month.

The referendum asks voters in Bainbridge, Jasper-Boone and Jasper-Madison precincts to approve up to $6.5 million in additional property taxes for the library’s portion of the cultural center that will drop off once the library pays off the construction bond. The library has already raised roughly $850,000 toward lowering the amount of property taxes necessary.

The effort will receive state tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Commission if approved.


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