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Local News

Library officials go to Joliet council next month on $6.5 million bond issue

The Joliet Public Library plans $10.5 million of interior improvements at the downtown library.
The Joliet Public Library plans $10.5 million of interior improvements at the downtown library.

Joliet library officials in July will ask the city to move forward with a $6.5 million bond issue to pay for renovations at the downtown branch.

The bond is expected to be paid off with a state grant, but the timing of the grant funding is uncertain.

"We're going to be going to the Joliet City Council at its July 20-21 meetings to ask them to sell bonds for a six- to six-and-a-half-year period to be paid off at the end," Library Director Megan Millen said Monday.

State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, who secured the funding in May, said it has been put into the six-year Rebuild Illinois program.

The timing at which the funds will be made available is still uncertain, McGuire said.

"I don't know if it will be $6.5 million all at once or if it will be divided over time," he said. "I'm waiting for details from the state."

The city is looking to the grant as an alternative to using property taxes to fund the bonds.

The city, which authorizes taxes for the library, included the bond bond issue in the 2020 budget with plans to fund it with property taxes estimated to cost the average homeowner between $6 and $9 a year.

The bond proceeds added to $4 million in reserve funds held by the library would fund a $10.5 million interior renovation aimed at modernizing the library. The project is expected to start in early 2021 and be completed in early 2022.

Library officials have said the improvements will include museum-like features for families, study areas for students, technology for business people, and meeting and exhibition space for the community

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