A meeting with Mark Young about Menan applying for grant money has spurred a conversation about upgrading the Menan, Annis, Grant Public Library.
The meeting had been intended to inform government officials about grant and funding opportunities that could apply to the community. It was set up following a public hearing in which citizens said members of the Menan government should be seeking grant funding rather than ask for more tax levy money.
Menan Mayor Tad Haight said during the conversation, it became clear grants would not be for road repairs alone.
“(Grant) money is not for balancing budgets,” Haight said. “It’s not for maintenance work.”
Young, District Six representative for the Idaho Department of Commerce Advisory Council, said community block grants typically do not cover general maintenance. He said grants will sometimes cover road repair as part of other development projects. Those development projects could range from expanding a sewer system, to fixing a fire building to creating a community center.
“There’s really quite a list of things that could be helpful to rural communities,” Young said.
A new library/community center is what Menan will be looking into, Haight said.
“Inasmuch as I’ve hoped for anything to work for Menan, I’ve hoped for this new library,” he said.
Haight said libraries are no longer centers for books alone, but provide people with internet access and numerous other resources. He said it would be good if the library had enough space to provide those resources and storage space.
“I have high hopes for the library,” he said.
As of Oct. 30, Young said he was working to set up a meeting between the mayor and city council and Ted Hendricks of The Development Company. The Development Company, based in Rexburg, helps local entities find solutions for area problems and helps seek funding.
Young said the focus is on federal grants for now. He said state funding may also be available, though he said the conversation is too early on to look into those. For federal funding, grants have certain requirements, such as requiring a community have a certain percentage of people who make a low or moderate income. Young said a study may be required to determine what that percentage is in Menan.
“That’s kind of where we’re at, is helping them understand the criteria for such grants,” Young said.
Haight said he does not expect the community to have a new library soon. He said it could take years, perhaps decades to get enough money together for it. He said most of the available grants are match grants, meaning the city will have to provide a portion of the funding in order to receive the money. Currently, the plan is to try to save up incrementally by applying throughout the years, he said. For now, the city council and library board will continue discussing possibilities.
“We’re going to talk about it … You’ve got to have a vision to start anything,” Haight said.