It may not have ended any global wars, but the Grantsville City Public Library has found itself designated as a sort of monument to peace.
Speaking to scores of people crowded inside the building at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning, Grantsville City Mayor Brent Marshall reflected on the progress to construct the library, and what it took to make it happen.
Marshall said a little more than two years ago, he and the Grantsville City Council met on a cold, dark night with Tooele City Mayor Patrick Dunlavy and the Tooele City Council to hammer out a settlement over a decade-long lawsuit.
Tooele, Grantsville and Stockton had locked horns over the privatization of then Utah Industrial Depot (now called Ninigret). Tooele was accused of keeping $15 million from the 1999 sale of UID instead of using it to benefit the whole county.
“We sat down and talked,” said Marshall. “We’d had more caucus meetings than the Republican Party. But we did come to an agreement.” The mayor noted he hoped such long-standing acrimony would never return. “This building is a tribute to that agreement,” he said.
Dunlavy said he agreed with Marshall’s wishes that only cooperation and friendship would be fostered between the two communities in the future. Also reflecting on that night the two municipalities reached an agreement, Dunlavy said the suggestion of the settlement in the form of a library for Grantsville was something that had never before been suggested. It gave them pause.
“We said, ‘That’s the solution. We can stop spending money on lawsuits and attorneys and start spending money on something positive that will help the community,” Dunlavy said. “I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to come together and make it happen.”
Dunlavy and Marshall both inherited the lawsuit from prior administrations, and about $2.5 million had been spent on legal costs between the cities — an amount that, ironically, became the budget for the new library.
As the ribbon-cutting program progressed, many of the children present found their way into reading areas and looked through books. Because of blustery winds and a gray sky overhead, much of the program was indoors, except for the ribbon-cutting itself.
Once the ribbon was snipped outside the shiny new building, the library was open for regular business. Although it has been unofficially opened since March 29, this was the first time many patrons had been inside, including 14-year-old Abbie Hamner. She was found curled up with a book by the library’s fireplace.
“When I came in here, I thought it was really pretty,” she said. “I thought it was going to be just an old library, but it’s like a work of art. It makes me want to come back.”
For Jaylene Hajek, having a local source for books again is especially welcome after the Tooele County Bookmobile Library stopped service last October. When they got the word that the bookmobile was going to close, Hajek said, her 4-year-old son, Nathan, was devastated by the news.
“The day they pulled the funding for the bookmobile was the saddest day of my son’s life. He had just pulled a bunch of books to take home and when he found out he had to leave them, he broke down,” she said. “We’re very excited to have a library.”
Grantsville City Public Library Director John Ingersoll said the inherent difficulties of starting a facility like a library from the ground up were lessened by generous support from the community. Residents pitched in more than 600 volunteer hours in the weeks before the library opened to catalogue books and place the volumes on shelves.
“The library by its nature is a collective thing, especially when you’re starting a library from scratch,” he said. “[As library director] I’m only as good as the people around me, and I’m glad we have such a great community to work with.”
Library cards are free to city residents with proof of residency, $10 for outside patrons and $5 for outside patrons age 55 or older. The fee is waived entirely for students who live outside city limits but attend schools in Grantsville.
Library hours are currently 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.