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History 2 of the Cresco Public Library

Cresco Public Library AdditionCentennial Logo

1990 - 1991

The following article was typed from the Times Plain Dealer as interest in the library centennial approaches.  Only sections of the article are included.  Those interested in reading a full account are encouraged to read the original newspaper article. 

February 28, 1990  Library delays continue  "Problems getting final approval of the building plans for the addition to the Cresco public library continue to push back the start of construction....However, the architect for the State Bureau of Historic Preservation of the State Historical Society has failed to give the project its final okay.  Until that approval is received, the  final plans cannot be drawn and the bid letting cannot be held....Indications from the building's architect are that the hold up by the historical preservation's architect are relatively minor.  They apparently include how the molding at the top of the walls will be placed in respect to the one ceiling beam, saving the old roof tile even though a near perfect match is available from the sme tile company, and using the same type of flooring as the existing library, which is of cork and has been covered for years by carpet.  The approval is needed because of a $150,000 grant the city has received to help fund the projecyt.  The grant is from the federal government but is administered by the state....The citizens of Cresco overwhelming approved a bond issue last June 27 to help finance the major expansion, expected to cost more than a half million dollars.  The bonds were sold by the city last October...."


March 14, 1990  Last hurdle finally passed, library board sets bid date  "The last major hurdle has finally been passed by the Cresco library board of trustees and a date for the long anticipated addition to the Cresco public library has been met....The project will include a 3,200 square foot addition to the library and the renovation of the existing building....The extensive project, which includes a major addition to the south of the existing building plus renovation in the new addition to the existing facility, was overwhelmingly approved by the tax payers last June....The project is being funded by a combination of local contributions, local tax dollars, and a federal library grant that is administered by the state of Iowa."


March 21, 1990  Hospital, library take bids for expansions  "Both the Howard County Hospital and the Cresco public library are anxiously awaiting bid opening days for find out what renovation and expansion plans are going to cost...The library is awaiting bids on its major renovation and addition.  The bids are to be opened at the Cresco city hall on Wednesday, April 11....The library's expansion is by far the more expensive of the two projects with an estimated cost of $554,500.  Of this amount, approximately $135,000 was raised through pledges and donations, $150,000 by a government library expansion grant and the remainder, approximately $269,500 through local property taxes....One reason for the high cost of the addition is the requirement to make the addition look like adn match the existing, 75-year-old Carnegie library.  This includes matching the green clay roof tiles, the use of concrete and brick on the exterior, and trimming the interior in walnut...."

April 4, 1990  Library delays bid opening  "At their April meeting Monday night, the board of trustees of the Cresco Public Library voted to delay the bid opening on the  library building project until Wednesday, April 18.  The original date set was April 11.  The time and place--3:00 p.m. in the Cresco City Hall--will remain the same....'It was at the recommendation of the architect that we chose to delay the bid opening,' explained library board president Flossie Morrison.  'It seems that there is a lot of construction work underway and being bid right now.  Some contractors wanted extra time for preparing their bids and some who have not yet taken out plans, have indicated to the architect that they would be interested in bidding the project if they had more time.'

April 25, 1990  Approve bids for library  "'Two Cresco firms have been awarded contracts for the major expansion and alterations to the Cresco city library....Cresco Building Service (CBS) was the low bidder as the primary contractor with Bob's Electric, also of Cresco, the low bidder for the electrical work....The heating and air conditioning contract was awarded a LaCrosse, WI, firm with a Denver, IA, firm awarded the elevator contract....The base bid of the four contracts totaled $486,712.  The grand total, including six possible additions to the base contract that added another $29,805, was $516,517....Despite the competitiveness of the bids, the final tally came in about four percent above the maximum allowed for the project.  However, the board of trustee, who received the bids last Wednesday afternoon, met Monday evening to make enough changes in the plans to bring the contract price under the limit....Monday evening the trustees and librarian Julie Huiskamp, along with Schute, greatly reduced the $40,000 set aside for furnishings, if need be, in order to bring the total expenditure under the limit....The two-story addition will greatly change the appearance of the old Carnegie library, which was built 75 years ago.  The addition will extend to the south of the existing library into an area that for the past year-plus has been used as a parking lot.  Plans call for the main entrance to be changed from the east side of the building to the new wing facing the south.  The addition to the brick building comes with a high price tag because of the desire of the community to make the new portion match the existing building in both architecture and building materials.  This was determined by a series of public meetings and surveys conducted by the board of trustees and the library staff nearly two years ago.  Last summer the community overwhelmingly approved a bond issue finance along with making needed improvements to the existing facility, including a new heating and air conditioning system and window replacement.  The successful bond issue followed notification of the successful application of a grand funded by the federal government that is administered by the state....The project was initially launched six years ago when the Schute-Larson Architectural firm of LaCrosse was hired.  The completion date, even with the delays, is February 1991, although it will take time following the completion for the library to be completely organized.  It is anticipated,however, that the summer youth reading program in 1991 will be in the new Cresco library....13,000 books to be moved  "An estimated 13,000 books will need to be moved when construction begins on the expansion to the Cresco city library....'The staff is now in the process of determining what books will stay in the library and which ones will be moved outside the library,' said the librarian.  She estimates that 5,000 books will need to be moved outside the facility...."

May 2, 1990  13% of library pledges not paid  "Of the nearly $140,000 pledged during the fund drive for the addition to the Cresco Public Library, all but $18,300 (13 percent) has been paid to date, according to members of the library's board of trustees....'To be honest,' commented fund drive co-chair, Rev. Gary Lee, 'we are very optimistic that most, if not all, of the outstanding pledges will be paid....'Though the project has been given the go ahead by the board of trustees, it was noted that the difference between the project budget--$475,000--and the actual bids and contingency--$502,000--would come from money budgeted for library furnishings.  The tight money situation has made the pledges that much more important....'If people who have been thinking about making a donation and haven't are wondering if we still need the money, the answer is 'Yes, we do,' said Rev. Lee.  Memorials and other gifts to the library will now be dedicated to the furnishings.  Some fund raising events may be considered, also, according to Rev. Lee....Ground breaking for the addition has tentatively been scheduled for Monday, May 14 at 4:30 p.m.  Removal of existing walls and digging for the new addition are expected to begin that week."

May 9, 1990  Library groundbreaking Monday  "The long-awaited groundbreaking for the addition to the Cresco Public Library will be held on Monday, May 14, 1990, at 4:30 p.m....'We welcome the public to attend the ceremony, which will be brief.  We don't want to waste any time now that we've reached this point', joked library board president Flossie Morrison.  'Most of the contractors and board members will be on hand as there is a pre-construction meeting being held prior to the ceremony and a board meeting following'....'The book sale will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20.  Most items will be a quarter, with paperbacks going for a dime and one table of 'good stuff' marked individually,' explained Mrs. Huiskamp.  'We'll also have some used equipment and furniture for sale.'...Volunteers are being recruited to pack boxes, carry stacks of books upstairs, move furniture and shelving and truck things to the storag site.  Work on the moving project will run from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Monday and from 9:00 a.m. to completion on Tuesday."

May 16, 1990  Library must re-locate  "The Cresco city library will have to find a temporary home during construction of the new addition and renovation of the existing facility.  The library was hoping to be able to remain open during the construction but the board of trustees voted to secure a temporary facility.  The vote came Monday following the pre-construction meeting with the four contractors.  'We had hopes of being able to stay in business at the library while the construction work was being done,' said librarian Julie Huiskamp.  'But after discussing the matter with the contracts, it was decided that for the safety of the patrons and to accommodate the construction people, the building will have to be closed.'  Mrs. Huiskamp was directed by the board to trustees to begin searching Cresco for a temporary site."

May 23, 1990  Library will close June 2  "The Cresco Public Library will close its doors on Saturday, June 2, and will remain closed for 'about a month,' according to librarian Julie llHuiskamp.  The closing is necessary to enable the library to move to a rented facility while the expansion and renovation work is being done to the existing library....The library is also in the process of bar coding the books and library card.  This will enable all books to be checked out from the new facility by using a computer.  'We are hopeful of having everything bar coded by the time we move back into the library,' said Julie.  'In the meantime, we'll be going a lot of packing.'  Volunteers will be needed 'probably the week of June 11 to help the library move into the leased building.  In addition to moving books, shelving and other furniture will also have to be moved."

May 30, 1990  Library to close this Saturday  "The library has temporarily leased a building in downtown Cresco, although the exact location has not yet been disclosed because the necessary papers have not been signed."

June 6, 1990  Complaint halts library work  "A complaint voiced by a neighbor to the Crseco Public Library has forced construction of the new half million-dollar addition and remodeling of the library to be halted, at least temporarily.  A complaint was voiced to Mayor Arletta Rose and city clerk Evelyn Baldner by Frank Mrachek, who lives immediately west of the library.  Mrachek and his wife contended that construction of the addition to the library would come to within four feet of their property line and that a variance was needed.  A check of city records indicated that the Mracheks were correct and that the project must now go before the variance board before construction can resume....'The mix-up, to some degree, was my fault,' said public works director Jeff Dietz.  'I looked at our planning and zoning map and it appeared to me that the commercial district extended all the way to Fourth Avenue.  As it turns out, the commercial district stops at the alley between Third and Fourth Avenues, just short of the library, which is in the R-3 district.'...In a commercial district, construction can take place up to the lot line.  In a residential zone, specifications call for a set back of 30 feet from the back property line.  The new addition to the library will be just shy of four feet from the property line....'The delay really messes up our scheduling,' continued the CBS president.  'Delivery of some materials we had ordered has had to be postponed and there may be financial differences that someone will have to pay for.'  The latest setback is just one in a series of problems that have plagued the project.  Although fa federallly funded grant to help finance the project was received a year ago, the project has been continually delayed.  Local voter approval for the major expansion came last June but conflicts between the designs of the addition as approved by the local board of trustees and the state architect for the State Historical Society further delayed the project.  It took lmany months for the differences and the final paperwork to be ironed out."

June 13, 1990  Library hearing postponed  "The hearing on a variance to enable construction of the new addition to the Cresco library has been postponed one week to June 19....The variance is being sought by the library to enable construction of the new half-million dollar addition and and renovation to come to within about three feet of the property line to the west.  Until the variance is received, construction is halted."

June 20, 1990  Delay library variance hearing again; postpone moving, too  "A variance hearing scheduled before the board of adjustment concerning the addition to the Cresco Public Library has been postponed for a second time....The hearing before the board has been re-scheduled for next Wednesday, June 27, at noon.  The hearing will be held in the Cresco city hall....The postponement makes the second time the hearing before the variance board has been re-scheduled.  The hearing was originally scheduled for Tuesday, June 12 but was delayed one week because the Frank Mracheks, who live immediately west of the library, were unable to attend.  The Mrachek's attorney, C.J. Anderson of Cresco, was also unavailable....The library board of trustees earlier approved a two-story addition to the south portion of the existing library.  The 48' X 50' addition will come within four feet of the Mrachek's side yard....The delay in construction is also delaying the transfer of the library operations to the former Elm Street Upholstery (Davis Paint) building, located south of city hall.  Library employee, board members and volunteers were expected to move many of the books and shelving to the new location in the coming days.  However, the uncertainty of the building project has suspended the plans to move at least for the present."

June 27, 1990  Decide library status today

July 4, 1990  Library work resumes  "Work on the expansion and remodeling of the Cresco public library is to resume this week following the settlement of a disagreement with neighbors of the library, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mrachek....The resumption of the half-million dollar project was made possible after a variance was granted to the library by the board of adjustment.  The variance was issued on a unanimous vote of the seven-member board, which met last Wednesday noon at city hall....The board of adjustment's vote came following disclosure of an agreement worked out between the Mracheks and the library board of trustees.  The agreement was reached late Tuesday afternoon, June 28, but was not officially announced until Wednesday's meeting, attended by close to 90 people.  The key to the settlement is the payment of $15,000 by the library board 'as compensation for the inconvenience and damages' to the Mracheks.  the cash payment was to be authorized by the library trustees at its regular July meeting, held this past Monday, July 2.  The nine-part agreement also calls for the library to pay the Mrachek's attorney fees of $1,008.  Their attorney is C.J. Anderson.  The agreement, which was signed by Frank and Ethel Mrachek, librarian Julie Huiskamp, library board president Florence Morrison and secretary Sandy Mikkelson, was worked out through the efforts of Anderson and Frank Elwood, who represented the library on the city's behalf.  The contract between the Mracheks and the library board of trustees and librarian Julie Huiskamp" [is listed enumerated in the paper].  "The problems with the setback of the new addition apparently occurred many years ago when wrong information was channeled into the project....The city's attorney voiced his pleasure at getting the issue resolved so that construction on the addition could resume.  'We got rid of the protest, got rid of the objection,' said Elwood."  Library payment:  no new books?  "The $15,000 payment that the Cresco public Library had agreed to pay Mr. and Mrs.Frank Mrachek will come from the library's annual budget and could eliminate or greatly reduce the purchase of new books for the year....The librarian was adamant in stating that the $15,000 would not come out of funds needed for the new addition and remodeling project.  'We cannot use the grant funds nor the money received from the sale of the bonds, and we will not use any donation or funds pledged for the expansion,' she said.  'People donated for the expansion, not to pay off this agreement.'  Letter To The Editor by library board of trustees and library director

July 11, 1990  Library open; work resumes  "Librarian Julie Huiskamp said that the staff will be working the morning hours on the bar coding of books for the new computer checkout system.  The hours are as follows:  Monday and Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ....Interior and exterior work to the old library shifted into high gear Monday with work crews beginning the task of tearing out old ceilings and wall coverings in the basement.  All books and most of the furniture have been removed from the old library, except in the reference room, to accommodate the contractors.  When ceiling and lighting work shifts to the reference room, those items will be moved elsewhere in the building."

September 19, 1990  Library back on track after weather delays  "Work on the addition to the Cresco public Library is 'on schedule considering the delay in June and the rain in August,' according to library director, Julie Huiskamp....Delays in construction have also been caused by supply problems especially for some of the specialty items....'CBS knocked the holes from the old to the new last week making it much easier to imagine the various rooms and areas.  It's one thing to see blueprints but something entirely different to be able to walk through the  construction and get the feel for the rooms,' commented Huiskamp....'In a 75 year old building, we knew there would probably be something that needed repair or replacement.'  The floor showed signs of water damage and age so it was removed and replaced with a poured concrete floor.  In addition, the west wall of the existing building was treated with a moisture barrier and sealed.....'We've had many people ask why we've put up another chimney,' joked Mrs. Huiskamp. 'It seems that not everyone is aware that the addition will contain an elevator.'  The elevator will provide accessibility to all levels of the building for handicapped patrons.  'And will certainly help when we move back in,' added Mrs. Huiskamp.

January 23, 1991  Report given about the city council meeting  "Librarian Julie Huiskamp brought the council up to date on the major addition and expansion of the library, noting she and the board of trustees anticipate accepting the building between April 1 and April 15.  The building will then be closed 'for about a month as we will need that much time to get organized in the new facility,' said Mrs. Huiskamp....Although the building project is financially 'in pretty good shape,' the librarian noted the budget  for furnishings was scrapped in order to make the building a reality.  She, too, was looking for direction from the council, pointing out that about $70,000 will be needed for additional shelving and furnishings.  She estimates that by holding the line on purchasing books and through additional donations, the deficit would be 'about $50,000 short.'  The library is seeking to 'borrow' the difference from the city then pay it back over a period of three lyears out of the library's annual budget and possibly additional donations....The council advised the trustees to secure accurate cost estimates on the shelving and furnishings and to return with the information."

March 20, 1991  Stored library books to be moved  "On Saturday, March 30, the first step in the move back to the remodeled quarters of the Cresco Public Library will occur.  'We have been very fortunate to have kept our storage building so long, but now the building has been rented and we need to move,' explained library director Julie Hiskamp.  The second floor of the former Yamaha building on Highway 9 has been used as a temporary storage facility for over 20,000 books  since late last June.  'We don't want to move all those boxes twice, so Cresco Building Service is being extremely cooperative in finishing off the basement level of the building as much as possible by March 29,' said Mrs. Huiskamp."

March 27, 1991  Use semi for temporary storage of library books  "The boxes will now be loaded into a semi trailer and stored until the library is completely finished and shelving is installed for the books....'Neil [Mahr] and Dean Balk got together,' explained Mrs. Cummins, 'and we now have a balk trailer in which to load the books.  Dean has offered to park the trailer where it will be protected until the books can be moved back to the library were they belong."

April 3, 1991  Council mulls library roof and furnishings financing 

May 8, 1991  Accept library roof bid  "The Cresco city council accepted the low bid to replace the roof on the old section of the city's public library....The low bid of $39,996, submitted by Service Roofing Company of Waterloo, was endorsed by the library board of trustees....The cost of replacing the 75-year-old roof was expected to cost more than $50,000 and Interstate Roofing of LaCrosse and Cardinal Construction Company of Waterloo reflected that estimate.  their bids were $53,685 and $57,772 respectively....The trustees recommended paying for the roof, along with furnishings and shelving for the expanded library, through a long-term capital improvement loan.  An estimated $50,000 is needed for the furnishings and shelving but about $20,000 has been raised by the Library Foundation.  The remaining $30,000, along with cost of the roof, would be included in the 10-year loan....'The Library Foundation will be responsible for the furnishings and shelving,' said head librarian Julie Huiskamp.  The funding of the roof is the responsibility of the city."

May 15, 1991  Library offers amnesty for all overdue books

June 5, 1991  Library to close June 15; hope for July 11 opening

June 12, 1991  Checked out books would aid library  "In order to ease the burden of moving library books from the temporary building in the  former Davis Paints store to the new facility, the staff of the Cresco Public Library has invited library patrons to take home as many books as they can."

June 19, 1991  Library move, auction Monday

July 3, 1991  Library summer program for youth begins July 11

August 14, 1991  Library opening delayed by problems with shelves  "Problems with the delivery of the new shelving continues to set back the opening of the Cresco Public Library....The new shelving for the library collection has been the major hold up for the re-opening of the expanded facility."

August 21, 1991  Library to open Monday 

September 4, 1991  Expanded library doesn't include a new fireplace by Ken Becker  "The completed building was re-opened for the public on Monday, August, 19...."

October 2, 1991  Expanded and renovated library dedicated Sunday  "The expanded and renovated Cresco public library will be dedicated at a special ceremony this Sunday afternoon at the library.  The program, which will include a ribbon cutting, is to begin at 2:00 p.m. and will be held outside the library's new south entrance, weather permitting.  If there is inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the library's fireplace on the main floor.  The ceremony will include remarks by Shirley George, State Librarian from the State Library of Iowa in Des Moines; by a representative of the city of Cresco; by Florence Morrison, president of the board of trustees of the library; by the Rev. Gary Lee, fund drive co-chairmen and member of library's board of trustees; and by Julie Huiskamp, director of the Cresco library....An open house and tours of the new and renovated facilities will be held immediately following the ceremony until 4:00 p.m....The ceremony and open house and tours are open to the public."


Moving books down the library stairs on rollers



Downstairs circulation desk



Genealogy and computer area showing the

original windows from the 'Ladies of Cresco.'




Children's amphitheater


Reading area in front of the fire place.



Moving books along the rollers.


Donation toward library computers.


South entrance.


Workers working on the new addition.


Another picture showing work being doing on the

new addition.


Donations for computers.


Dedication brochure.


South entrance.


Workers on the roof.


Boxes of stored books.


The temporary library in the old Davis Paint Store.


The basement is taking shape.


Donations for new computers.


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