Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

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By Seth Romsa
Staff Writer 

Library opening soon Tours provided this weekend


September 9, 2021

WORLAND – The Washakie County Library in Worland is closing in on its official opening, hosting an open house style event this Saturday, Sept. 11, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. during Harvest Fest.

The exact opening date had not been set as of press time. On Tuesday they were awaiting one more shipment of furniture to be ready for a full opening.

The Washakie County Library has been in development for over five years when the Washakie County Commissioners first brought up the idea of renovating the old library in January 2016.

The plan moved along at a stagnant rate from there until June 2019 when Lee and Gerry Kennedy made the decision to move Kennedy Ace Hardware to the old Shopko building located at 100 S. 20th Street.

This left the former Kennedy Ace building located at 801 Big Horn Ave. to be vacated and the commissioners soon reached an agreement with the Kennedys to purchase the building for $525,625 in September 2019 using funds generated by the one-cent tax gathered from 2009 until 2012.

The commissioners also later agreed to purchase the Kennedy’s Ace Repair Shop located just north of the Kennedy Ace building for an additional $125,000 with that building not being purchased using library funds.

The county then employed the services of TSP architecture to help design the new future home of the library.

Shortly after purchasing the building, the commissioners were approached by local resident Mike Healy, who donated $1 million toward the renovation of the building in honor of his late wife.

Once designs were unveiled in February 2020, the commissioners applied for a $500,000 Business Ready Community Enhancement Grant through the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) which was approved in June 2020.

This grant was awarded due to the commissioner’s inclusion of the Worland-Ten Sleep Chamber of Commerce in the plans for the building, along with the Washakie Development Association (WDA) and other county offices.

Once the commissioners received approval for funding through the SLIB, they began the search for a construction company to complete the project.

The commissioners finally settled on Cody-based company Groathouse Construction for a bid of $2,173,051 in Oct. 2020.

After Groathouse was awarded the bid, construction for the building began in November 2020, and encountered multiple speed bumps along the way including asbestos needing to be removed, along with delayed shipments.

Healy donated an additional $250,000 to help the county purchase the new furniture and shelving for the library, which has been the primary delay since April for the opening of the building.

The official funding for the project was: $1,066,157 from the one-cent sales tax gathered from 2008 through 2012, $250,000 from Washakie County, Healy donations of $1,009,000 and $250,000 along with $500,000 from the Community Enhancement Grant through the (SLIB).

The library will be accepting returns for books, but no checkouts will be allowed during the event.


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