In a day that had been long anticipated, Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone helped the Friends of the Idyllwild Library celebrate a groundbreaking for the new Idyllwild Library in Strawberry Plaza on Friday, Jan. 27. Scheduled for a 180-day construction period, the library should open, barring weather delays, by Labor Day of this year.
“I am still up on cloud nine to think that we are finally going to get that library,” said longtime Friends advocate Adele Voell. “I am pinching myself every now and then to make sure that I’m not dreaming and that this is actually happening.”
It was a day of satisfaction for the Friends as member Bob Ferguson recounted the long history of getting to this point — the stops, the starts and the reverses that after more than 10 years culminated in the county’s Economic Development Agency (EDA) securing federal community block development grants (CDBG) to finance the $2 million addition to the Idyllwild community.
“We’re getting exactly what we wanted with this library,” Voell said. “All I want to say is ‘thank you’ to Natalia [Brown, library project manager for EDA] and to EDA.”
Stone, who demonstrated a continued commitment to getting this project green-lighted and built, said that for Idyllwild with its very educated population, this library would be a “very essential piece of infrastructure.”
“I want to thank the Friends for bringing a lot of wisdom and [suggesting] good features to this project,” he said. “This will not only be a library, it will be a community center.” Stone said he would hold his monthly meetings in the library’s new community room. “We’ll discuss the next project we’ll be building in this beautiful community of Idyllwild,” he enthused.
He noted the long advocacy and hard work the Friends brought to this project, saying, “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. I think it’s remarkable that we’re spending $2 million to build this structure during this great recession. For all of you who are here today, this is a dream. Our EDA was wise enough to get some CBDG money [for this project] that is protected and cannot be stolen by state agencies.”
Project Manager Brown said she does not anticipate anything that would significantly delay the projected Labor Day opening.
And with that, pictures were taken, congratulations were shared, and a dream that began many years ago began to take physical shape.