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Ellsworth closes in on library fundraising goal

Ellsworth closes in on library fundraising goal Ellsworth closes in on library fundraising goal

With word that several large gifts were received, the Ellsworth Public Library building fund is well on its way to meet its goal of raising $350,000 for renovation of the BMO Harris Bank Building.

The Village of Ellsworth has agreed to purchase the building and will borrow $500,000 for the project, contingent on the Library Building Committee raising the money.

The committee turned to some of the community’s biggest supporters to help lock in funding. Jack Hines built successful insurance

See LIBRARY, Page 8

Graphic from the Friends of the Ellsworth Public Library Facebook page. and auction businesses, and he was “working” Main Street diligently to help bring in money for the project last week, and that we know firsthand! (This reporter even had to buy lunch!) The work is paying off. The April 1 fundraising update showed that the drive has brought in $319,866.

The Ellsworth Village Board was expected Monday night to discuss taking out the loan for the project, but that meeting was cancelled and will be rescheduled for April 19. Late Monday afternoon, Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Nicole Stewart said that the meeting was cancelled because of a COVID-19-related situation. She emailed The Journal, “Public Safety decision due to someone testing positive for COVID19.”

Village meetings have been available for participation from board members on the Zoom format, but it perhaps is fitting that it was delayed, as the board will be sending off three longterm members, who decided not to seek re-election. Village President Gerald DeWolfe has presided over Village Board meetings for three decades, and trustees Neil Gulbranson and Curt Wandemacher have served two decades.

A new Village President will take office as well, with trustees Michael Steele and Becky Beissel facing off this week, and three trustee seats will be decided. (Check The Journal website – – and follow The Journal on Facebook for election results.

The development of the new library facility is projected to cost $1,416,149. The library already is contributing $595,000 into the project to buy the building. Fundraising was to have been completed by March 31, so having this COVID-19 delay will give them a couple more weeks to appear before the Village Board with cash in hand.

The new library is a long-time coming. The Village formed a Building/Space Committee nine years ago to study library space options. The current library building is just 2,880 square feet.

The BMO Harris Bank building was vacated last spring. It is located at 388 W. Main St.

The planned future home of the Ellsworth Public Library.