Library plans put on hold | News

VALDESE — Burke County Public Library’s long-anticipated new facility in Hildebran is expected to open on Sept. 1.

A public reception is expected to be held at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 31 at the new Burke County Public Library and Senior Center in Hildebran. And while that may be good news for folks in the area, another long-awaited library expansion in Valdese has been held up because of funding.

The library system planned to expand the Valdese branch, which included renovating the Cole House next door. But Burke County Public Library Director Jim Wilson said the library system wasn’t able to raise the money to renovate the Cole House.

The Rostan Family Foundation purchased the house a long time ago and donated it to the library system for an expansion. The house was 1.5 stories and was going to be used to expand the library’s space and programming. It also was going to include a demonstration kitchen and have an amphitheater behind it, officials have said.

However, Wilson said in September 2016, after two rounds of bids on the project, renovation of the house didn’t appear to be within reach of the library system’s budget.

In addition to donating the house, the Rostan Family Foundation has pledged $300,000 for the project and another $100,000 was raised. The library system asked the county for $500,000, he said.

Burke County Manager Bryan Steen said this fiscal year’s budget includes $250,000 for the Valdese library expansion. Another $250,000 will be included in the county’s budget for 2018-19, he said.

Steen said the county couldn’t fund the full amount this year. He said the county had to increase the property tax rate and take money from the county’s fund balance to make this year’s budget work. Part of the reason is because the county funded a new EMS base in the George Hildebrand community and included…

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