Pulaski County Library Looking to Issue Bond, Tap Rainy Day Fund for Lead, Asbestos Cleanup

Upgrades to the Pulaski County Public Library in Winamac are going to end up costing far more than originally thought.

“We had a construction project that has gone south on us, and it involves lead dust,” Executive Director MacKenzie Ledley told the county council Monday. “It is in a nonpublic area that is in the Carnegie building, and we have already spent $13,000 on the testing to identify the proper remediation.”

She said that in order to remediate the lead dust, they will have to remediate asbestos, as well. Library officials are still working on a total cost estimate for all of that work, but it will be more than what the library has available.

As a first step, they’re asking for permission to spend $25,000 out of the library’s Rainy Day Fund. Due to the size of the additional appropriation, it has to go to the county council for approval. Council members voted to schedule a public hearing and make a final decision during their meeting next month, with Mike Tiede opposing.

But Ledley said that’s just the first part of their funding request. “Next month, we also anticipate, though, unfortunately, that we’ll also be coming back to request the beginning of a bond issuance,” she told council members. “The project is that large.”

Ledley stresses that the lead and asbestos remediation work will only be taking place in non-public areas of the library. She says the public areas were tested and found to be safe, and health officials will continue to monitor the area. At this point, Ledley expects the project to have very little impact on the library’s day-to-day operations.