Donation benefits library, MainStreetPublished 11:40am Thursday, February 21, 2013
Representatives from MainStreet Alexander City and the Adelia M. Russell Library were present Wednesday to accept more than $50,000 in donations from Ben Russell through the Adelia McConnell Russell Charitable Foundation.
The library will receive $30,000 and MainStreet Alexander City will receive $25,000.
MainStreet Alexander City director Richard Wagoner said the funds are used for the organizations façade matching grant programs and for downtown landscaping improvements.
Wagoner said the façade matching grant program helps business owners and the overall aesthetics of downtown by providing money for improvements to storefronts.
“Loans can be difficult to get for a small business,” Wagoner said. “Even paying out $2,500 for repairs can be a lot of money for a small business to handle.”
The program provides up to $5,000 in matching funds for business to perform exterior improvements to buildings.
Wagoner said these funds are essential to MainStreet’s mission to beautify and preserve downtown Alexander City.
“Downtown has to be attractive,” Wagoner said. “If we bring someone to Alexander City that is thinking about locating their business here, they want to see downtown. If downtown is full of boarded up buildings, broken glass and chipped paint, it just isn’t appealing.”
Library director Amy Huff said the money would be used for a variety of capital projects.
“One thing we are looking at is digitizing the old Russell Records, the newspapers from the old Russell Mill,” Huff said. “It is a costly process because the paper is fragile.”
Huff said that the digitizing process also draws oils from the paper, so they are evaluating the project to make sure the old papers are preserved.
“We are also looking to upgrade our circulation and cataloguing system,” Huff said. “We want to go to a 100 percent web-based system so it would be easily accessed from any computer.”
Huff said she also hopes to use the money to purchase a door counter to log all library visitors, to replace shelving and to provide the various summer programs planned at Mamie’s Place Children’s Library.