By Ginger Kohr
They ripped asphalt out the library parking lot, covered it with gravel and graded it. Then the area was surrounded with security tape and barricades. You might have wondered what was happening. By Monday, April 4th, the frame was up, only to be halted by rain.
This is a project that is a few years in the making, and ideas for use of the structure have grown with time. It was Tammy Bingham who planted the idea of a pavilion on the back half of the north patron parking lot, and who suggested the possibility of securing the funds for it through a ROI grant.
Despite our best efforts and making it through the first two rounds of the grant process, we were not, in the end, awarded the grant.
But the idea continued to germinate, and more and more ideas for the use of such a facility came to us.
Then, of course, Covid halted all progress, while at the same time causing us all to say, “if only we had that outdoor space NOW!”
Then, one day, we were approached by a couple who wanted to make it happen. They asked for a 20% community match to the funds they offered to donate. The Owen County Community Foundation gave us the 20%. The Friends of the Owen County Public Library donated, as well as Hoosier Energy, Farm Bureau, the Farmer’s Market, Insurance Services, and several individuals in the community who have given very generous donations.
The building is of the pole barn variety but will be open like a shelter house. We are planning to build a stage at the west end.
Every penny spent to build the pavilion to this point has been granted, and gifted, so this is a community project, built by the community for the community. The concrete floor is nearly paid for. Eventually we will add lighting, a stage, a low wall, and hopefully some stone dressing around the posts, seating, and other items will all be added gradually as we have the funds to add them, and the library’s wi-fi will be extended to the facility. We want to keep the space flexible so that it can be used for many different purposes.
The library will of course hold many programs, events, and celebrations in the pavilion, but it will also be available to the public to use. Much like the public rooms in the library, the pavilion will be available to be reserved by groups and individuals. We will announce when it is ready to be used, and we are open to start accepting requests to reserve the building.
This community has been extremely generous. The donations, ideas, and excitement about the project have been so helpful and appreciated. Anyone who donates toward the projects that will help complete the pavilion, or add to a fund for ongoing maintenance, along with those who have already donated to the project, will be acknowledged in a dedication program to be held this summer. Contributions can be made to the Owen County Public Library or to the Friends of the Owen County Public Library (please specify “pavilion” in the memo line).
We look forward to enjoying many good times and fun events in the new library pavilion.