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Eating chili — to avoid the chill

WALNUT — Walnut Public Library Director Michele McAlvey hopes lots of people will turn out for the library’s chili luncheon on Sunday.

That’s because all of the profits will go toward replacing the library’s aging furnace. The furnace, which is original to the building, dates back to 1965 and is showing its age.

“They just kind of keep putting Band-Aids on it,” McAlvey said.

The most recent breakdown of the furnace was in December.

“We came in here, and it just wouldn’t even turn on,” McAlvey said.

McAlvey said the problem is a cracked thermocouple.

“That apparently can no longer be replaced,” she said. “They just don’t make the part for that furnace anymore.”

McAlvey is looking at a new furnace and air-conditioning unit, as well as making the front doors handicapped accessible. The total cost will be about $23,000.

McAlvey has been applying for grants for the project but without much success.

“Because I received a very large grant for our floors several years ago, I keep kind of getting bumped down,” she said.

In 2008, the library learned it would receive $25,000 from the state to get rid of some asbestos-containing flooring as part of the state’s Fiscal Year 2008 Live and Learn construction grant program. The work was completed in March 2009.

McAlvey said the project was bumped to the second tier, and this year she hopes the project makes it to the top.

McAlvey said the grant and the fundraising are necessary because the money for the project definitely isn’t in the library’s budget. The fundraising is necessary because the grant is a 50-50 grant, and so the library must raise half of the funds.

McAlvey said the library has already received some donations from groups including the Walnut Rotary, Community Fund and local American Legion.

“If we do get the grant, we’re still going to have more fundraisers to get more money,” she said.

McAlvey said the most pressing issue is to keep the library up to standards for the patrons and the community.

“The community has always stood behind us and supported us in everything that we have ever tried to undertake,” she said. “We just want to make sure that when they do come in, it’s to their comfort.”

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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