By December of this year, children and adults in Naturita will be able to check out their favorite book, browse through the selection of best sellers or simply enjoy conversing with other residents at a brand new library. With funding support from the Telluride Foundation’s Special Initiatives Grant program, the new library fills a vital need in Naturita, as the current 500-square-foot library offers a limited collection and services. Because Naturita currently lacks a community gathering place, the new library will also serve as a “town commons.”
At the Telluride Foundation’s Dec. 28 board meeting, board members Elaine Fischer, Joan May and Melanie Montoya presented the “The New Naturita Library” to the board, asking for an $80,000 commitment to complete the final phase of construction. Funds from the Telluride Foundation will be matched by area residents through a property tax increase approved by 80 percent of Naturita voters in November. The Montrose Regional Library District will contribute $150,000 toward the project and will provide increased operational funding that was made possible by voters’ approval in 2004 of a doubling of the District’s mill levy. Area residents and business will also contribute $60,000 along with a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant of $350,000.
In approving this grant, the Foundation Board of Directors awarded its second grant in the Special Initiatives Grants Program, which allows the board to direct funds in a proactive fashion for projects that will have a significant and meaningful impact for the residents and workforce of the Telluride community. According to a San Miguel County study, 200 workers from the Naturita area commute to the Telluride region daily.
When completed, the new library, located on Main Street directly across the street from the Naturita school, will be 4,000 square feet. The location and spacious retro design of the new Naturita Library are intended to promote the library as a gathering place. A community courtyard at the front of the building will have game tables, shade trees and umbrellas. The meeting room, with its own entrance to allow off-hour use, will be available for community events. The library will tailor hours and services to meet the needs of all community members, with special emphasis on children, senior citizens and those who lack transportation.
“We are thrilled to be funding such a worthwhile project that will have a positive impact on Naturita,” said Montoya. “This investment is a long term solution for a community that has struggled for quite some time. The new library will promote the notion that reading and learning are cool and hopefully boost interest in education. As a community gathering spot, the new library will also nurture the development of community spirit.”
Special Initiatives Grants are presented at the biannual meetings and must be sponsored by three board members. The board of directors has sole discretion and direct involvement in presenting, approving and monitoring projects.
For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit www.telluridefoundation.org.