Friends of the West Fork Library
Meeting September 30, 2013
Members and Visitors: Jane Bryant, Edith Bessette, Donnie Porter, Steve Winkler, Wesley & Irma Eckles, Jr., Frances Hime, Mayor, Susan Culp, Dorothy Carney, Joan Bachman, Rose Gererich, Paula Caudle, Susan McCarthy, Carolyn Griffith.
The meeting was called to order at 4:00 by co-president Susan McCarthy. Co-president Patty Baker and Treasurer Marilyn McLaughoin were absent.
Ms. McCarthy explained that the overview of the meeting was to discuss a proposal regarding the FOL accepting as a gift the First Christian Church Building. She noted that after reviewing the By-Laws no vote can be made until 30 day notice is given.
A copy of the By-Laws was distributed along with the Statement of Purpose, the Agenda and minutes of last meeting and a list of suggested repairs on the Church Building by the independent inspection company.
Ms. McCarthy said the purpose of this meeting is to discuss the proposal and reviewed past events. The last remaining church elders offered the property for free to the City of West Fork. At their August meeting the council voted to decline the offer citing financial reasons and status of deed. Since then three council members have implied they might revisit the issue.
A full inspection report by a certified company, paid for by a member, is available online. A copy of the summary of needed repairs was distributed.
Mayor Frances Hime noted that if the city owned the building it would need to comply with code for handicap access, ramps, bathrooms, exits, which she said very expensive. Attorney informed that the city cannot be in the museum business. There may be a claimant named Bell somewhere. And the city may be reluctant to build a new library if they owned the church building. She explained that she is currently working on a Comprehensive Development Plan – Capital Improvement Plan for the city which would identify needs, funding sources, bonds and loans. She also mentioned that the city has a “wish list” that includes improved infrastructure and such things as a cab for snow removal tractor.
Librarian Joan Bachman reported that an architect is making preliminary drawings for a new addition which are needed for her to complete a grant proposal to Walton Family Foundation. However there is no assurance that funds are forthcoming.
Wes Eckles suggested we poll the membership for a yes/no vote. And also asking for pledges or donations including the amount. He suggested that the size of the project may be a lot for a group our size. He stressed the need for meeting places but wondered if ownership might distract us from our orginal task.
Jane Bryant pointed out that we are essentially the only non-profit organization in town and suggested that providing a place for activities mentioned (meeting rooms, bookstore, museum, youth and senior activities, cultural event venue) is consistent with the mission of the FOL to serve the community. She has, at her own expense, consulted a real estate attorney and has been in contact with the church via Ken Miller who will convey the property with a quit claim deed. Full title could come in seven years, granted by a judge. Stipulations in the deed requiring religious activity could be satisfied by having Bible study meetings. She noted the need to get everyone informed and presented signature sheets showing support for the proposal for FOL ownership of the church building
Sources of income were suggested by Susan Culp. A list has been previously presented. Using the building for event rental for weddings, etc was discussed.
Paula Caudle expressed concern that getting the church building would create a bad situation with the city helping with a new library. She also cautioned in using it for wedding parties because of possible damage. Ms. Carney agreed.
Carolyn Griffith reminded the group of the recycle center’s early experience with the city government. The city did not support it and expressed interest in the property being used for city shop and truck parking. She mentioned there is currently talk about the police department occupying the current library building.
Member Question: Is West Fork growing. Dorothy Carney said the schools are not growing and don’t see growth in their future.
Several people pointed to the low income demographic as a hindrance to raising funds but also as a reflection of the community’s need for access to computers, books and videos.
What if it doesn’t work as planned? Dorothy Carney offered that just having a place for meetings and cultural events doesn’t mean it will be used. Mr. Winkler said that if it turned out poorly, the FOL could sell the building on the real estate market. He also noted that the mayor’s capital improvement plan is not currently being discussed by the council and may be in the far distant future.
According to By-Laws if the FOL terminates, any assets go to the Municipal Library.
Management of the building was a concern. Who would be responsible? Mr. Eckles suggested users could pick up and return a key as he does with other organizations. Mr. Winkler offered that with more activities in the building – senior center, bookstore, meetings, etc, it would be a more attractive volunteer opportunity, in that volunteers often like to be in situations where they interact with others.
Individual members volunteered to gather information on 1) more detailed cost of needed repairs to the building and 2) detailed estimate of income sources.
The discussion was lively and individuals other than those named above participated.
Finally a motion was made and passed that the FOL send letters to members to vote. Two parts; first, a vote to modify the bylaws to take ownership of the building. Yes or No.
The second part was about donating money with a spot to specify how much.
Meeting adjourned at 5:45