Thursday marked the official groundbreaking for the new Talkeetna Public Library and Community Resource Center, which is scheduled to open next year. K-T-N-A’s Phillip Manning was there, and has this report:
Including borough and state officials, about forty people attended the “golden shovel” event at the site of the new library. Among them were Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss, Borough Assembly Members Vern Halter and Jim Sykes, various borough staff, including Borough Manager John Moosey, Jason Smart of the Rasmuson Foundation, and State Representative Wes Keller.
Talkeetna Librarian Ann Yadon spoke at the groundbreaking, near the spot where the entrance will eventually be. She says the groundbreaking is a culmination of a great
Librarian Ann Yadon
deal of effort:
“We can definitely say,now, ‘Yes, this is really going to happen…’ Our library has moved many times in its forty-one year history, but, every time we’ve moved, its character and its personality have remained intact.”
Ann Yadon thanked the Rasmuson Foundation, the Friends of the Talkeetna Library, and the state legislature for funding, and singled out one man who she says was vital to the effort:
“Most especially, and I cannot stress this enough, thank you to Vern Halter, our [Mat-Su Borough] Assembly-person. We would not be here without you today, Vern…”
Vern Halter took to the microphone next. He praised the efforts of the community in pushing for funding, and recognized a number of borough staff who are part of the process. He ended by joking that the 7,000-plus square foot
Borough Assembly Member Vern Halter
building will mean the loss of one Talkeetna experience for him:
“You know, I will miss going to community council meetings in the old library. You’re kind of stuffed in there, [and] the community council is about three feet in front of you. I’ll miss that part of life, but this is a great way to start…”
State Representative Wes Keller was the final speaker. He says that credit in the legislature should go to Representative Neuman and Senator Huggins, who began the effort to fund the project when they represented the Talkeetna area. Like the speakers before him, Keller had high praise for the residents of the area:
“State government works when communities are alive and engaged, and Talkeetna is one of the prime examples. I’m sure that–that’s why it’s an honor to be here. It’s an honor to be here to mark this day, because there are going to be a lot of things that happen in this library that will help define Talkeetna, help make us proud, both at the community level and the state.”
The ceremony concluded with photos of dirt being tossed with golden shovels. All the while, the crew from E&E construction worked around the foundation of the building. The new library is currently scheduled open in the first half of next year.