Plans for New Cultural Center Advance

Jasper (NNDC):

The Jasper Public Library Board met Thursday and made several moves to take take the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center another step forward.

The Thyen-Clark Cultural Center is designed to bring the library and Jasper Community Arts Commission into one venue on the former Hoosier Desk site at the corner of Third and Mill streets. There has been months 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 several decisions by the library board Thursday.

The board approved Library Director Christine Golden to review bids for internet hardware for the cultural center and sign a letter of intent with the provider with the best options. Although the project is months away from needing actual materials, the board had 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.

Following, the board approved a request to combine the 30 parcels that currently make up the former Hoosier Desk site into four. This 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.

The actions are instrumental in making the finance structure for the project work. The financing structure is similar to the building corporation structure that schools use for major projects. With assistance 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.  Kremp Lumber of Jasper was already awarded with the contract.

The city and library will also forward their allotted monies for the project to the corporation, 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 same corporation to the trustee.

 Although the process to get to construction is long and complicated,  everything is on track for a groundbreaking in April, and per state law government entities cannot start projects they do not have the funds available to complete.

In summary, the project is funded and on track with the planning.

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