Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Reason Why... One of them anyway.

The Depot...why is the Historic Monroe Train Depot part of our South Benton Library Project? Why would we use it, when it looks like it is falling apart? There it sits, on the corner of HWY 99W and Ash St. in Monroe. It looks pretty lonely out there and in fact it looks a tad bit more decrepit than it did 4 years ago when we moved it to it's new home.

What a day that was! Do you remember? It was an early March morning, a little overcast and dark. But something remarkable was happening in Monroe! The Depot was being moved and in the process, it was given a reprieve from destruction. It was really a leap of faith for our group, the South Benton Library Project, to have the Depot moved. We didn't yet own the property where it was being moved, we didn't yet have any funds to pay for the move. We didn't even have a plan of how the Depot would be incorporated into the new library design. But we had a vision of what we didn't want to happen; the destruction of a landmark. The building was historic and a part of our South Benton history. The saving of it just fell into our laps. And yet, somehow it fit right into our plans.

I keep thinking about the Monroe train's arrival in town each day so many years ago. About the people meeting their families at the depot, about coming home, and about leaving for other places. Coming to the train depot back then was a destination and a departure place. By saving the Historic Monroe Train Depot and using it for our Community Library we will keep it's original use somewhat intact. This is what I mean: people coming to the library today come for many reasons and some are the same original reasons that they came to the Depot many years ago. They come today to meet people-haven't you "met" the characters in your favorite books at the library? Also, for many it is a home place-most of our town's kids have been raised coming to the library and are perfectly at home here. Most of these kids will grow up, have children of their own and bring them to the Monroe Library. And by checking out many of our books and material people can, in essence, depart for other places-even if it is only in their mind.

The Historic Monroe Train Depot will be incorporated into the new Monroe Community Library and once again it will take it's place in a town where people meet, gather and grow. What a welcoming place to be and a wonderful reason why.

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Impressive Quote from one of our Donors

From Megan Schumaker, Program Officer for Community Grants & Funds at the Oregon Community Foundation:

“The Oregon Community Foundation is impressed by the amount of support the South Benton Community Enhancement Association has garnered from local individuals and businesses. It is clear that construction of a new library is a high priority in the community, with more than two-thirds of Monroe-area households having contributed. John Gray, a prominent Oregon philanthropist and graduate of Monroe High School, has made a generous pledge to help complete the campaign and OCF is pleased to be part of this strong community effort.”

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Guest Post from Nancy, SBLP's delightful Publicity Chairman

What a Thanksgiving! Two foundations and generous neighbors provide funding that keeps us chugging along toward realizing construction of the new library and community center we have been working for.

The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) generously awarded our efforts to build a new library and community center with $25,000 for the second consecutive year in support of our capital campaign to build a new library for the residents of South Benton County. Funds granted came from two specific philanthropic funds: the Kiilsgaard-Greene Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation ($550) and the Jerome S. and Barbara Bischoff Library Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation ($24,450). The foundation's generosity has helped us bring our total for funds raised to $868,689.

The mission of The Oregon Community Foundation is to improve life in Oregon and promote effective philanthropy. OCF works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support the community causes they care about. Through these funds OCF awards more than $60 million annually in grants and scholarships.

The Oregon Community Foundation makes grants through an application process that involves local citizens in the review and evaluation of requests for funds. Application materials are available through the foundation’s Portland office. Individuals or businesses interested in establishing fund may contact the Eugene office at 541.431.7099. Please visit OCF’s website for additional information at

The South Benton Library Project also received $50,000 from the Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust, providing considerable financial assistance toward construction and preconstruction expenses for the area’s new public library and community center. It is the intention of the Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust to contribute to organizations whose principal mission is to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Oregon and to assist and sustain the educational, cultural and scientific endeavors of the state.

In addition to grant funding, private and business donations to construction of the new library have exceeded $50,000. We are very grateful to the generous citizens and business leaders of our community and their commitment to the success of the capital campaign for construction of a much needed new public library in South Benton County.