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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • James Foundation gives library and park to the City

  • The James Foundation officially announced on Monday that it is passing full ownership of the St. James Public Library and St. James Park to the City.
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  • The James Foundation officially announced on Monday that it is passing full ownership of the St. James Public Library and St. James Park to the City.
    To date, the total operating costs of the park and the library have been covered by the Foundation.According to a letter from Lorie A. Stutsky, president of The New York Community Trust, maintaining Maramec Spring Park with its increased popularity over the years "has absorbed more and more of the James Foundation's limited resources.""After examining the James Foundation budget and in keeping with Mrs. James' priorities, it is now time for us to turn the library over to you," Stutsky wrote in the letter addressed to the people of St. James. "...The Trust will provide support for the library to smooth the transition. Once the library is a public facility, it will be eligible to apply for government and private grants for which it could not previously apply."During tonight's City Council meeting, the council discussed the issue in a closed session.City Administrator Jeff Davis prior to the meeting said no further information would be available until some time Tuesday morning."At the end of the day, it's up to the Mayor and the Council to decide what they're going to do," Davis said. "We still have to discuss this with the Foundation before we can arrive with final dollars and cents."According to the letter, the decision to "hand over" said amenities came after the its board visited in June. "It's pretty critical that we attack this right way," Davis continued. "It's a lot, there's no question, and this is going to be a good thing at the end of the day – I just want to see if we can get in there and do it and do it right."Davis said cost in maintaining the adjacent cemetery is also included in the transition, which should require the least amount of city funds as it is "a self-sustaining entity."Maintaining the park and the library will require further research and discussion. Davis expects the Mayor and City Council to schedule a work session in the coming weeks."I don't think the park is an insurmountable task," Davis continued. "It's probably going to cost us more, but we haven't had a public library in a very long time. "I forsee participation with a lot of different folks. We're open to all options and we want to look at what's best for our library."The library was opened in 1953. The Trust designed and erected the building and has funded it for more than 60 years. More information regarding the City's response to this issue will be in Wednesday's edition of The Leader-Journal.
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