The official opening of Grantsville’s new library ended a decade-long conflict between Tooele County’s two largest cities on a hopeful note in 2013.
Tooele and Grantsville cities came together to open the new library at a ribbon cutting ceremony in April. Grantsville Mayor Brent Marshall and Tooele Mayor Patrick Dunlavy together cut the ribbon to celebrate their communities’ resolution to bury a long-standing legal hatchet.
At the facility’s groundbreaking in 2012, Dunlavy told residents, “I think we feel as much excitement and pride as you. We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to come together—two cities that have conflicted for so long—and find a resolution that benefits both of us.”
In 2011, Tooele agreed to pay principal and interest for up to 20 years on a $2 million bond issued by Grantsville to build the library.
The agreement came as part of a legal settlement to end a lawsuit between Grantsville and Stockton, and Tooele’s Industrial Depot Redevelopment Agency. The plaintiffs alleged Tooele City violated a 1994 agreement when it kept the $15 million proceeds from the sale of 1,700 acres of former Tooele Army Depot property.
Additionally, Tooele agreed to pay Grantsville $100,000 and from that amount, Grantsville would pay Stockton $40,000.
The library, a 10,800-square-foot facility, was designed to feature sections for children’s and teen’s books, in addition to general stacks, a reading area, research computers and a case designated for special collections.
The building also features a 90-seat auditorium for public use, and two classes for Utah State University Extension classes.
Grantsville rejected all initial bids on the project when estimates came back $500,000 over budget. City officials altered the requested construction time frame and requested materials and re-bid the project to decrease costs, but preserved the original architectural plans.
After accepting a bid from Interwest Construction, the city broke ground for the library in February 2012.
A year later, Grantsville approached John Ingersoll about taking the helm at the city’s new library. Ingersoll worked as the librarian for the Tooele County Bookmobile for nearly four years before the county discontinued the bookmobile service in Nov. 2012.
He had since secured a job with the Utah State Library in Mapleton and was working there when Marshall suggested Ingersoll apply for the Grantsville library position.
Once he had secured the job, Ingersoll set about readying the new library for everyday service, which he said he intended to extend to outlying communities where possible.
Grantsville City has projected that the library’s operational costs will total $184,100 for its first full budgetary year next year. But Marshall said the city’s preliminary 2013-2014 budget accounted for the increase by trimming expenses from other departments. The cuts allowed the city to absorb the increased costs without raising taxes, he said.
The library had a “soft” opening in March, and after serving patrons for a few weeks to work out the last few kinks, held a grand opening with a ribbon cutting on April 13.
At the ceremony, Marshall called the library a tribute to the newfound cooperation between Tooele and Grantsville city governments. While reflecting on the night of the settlement, Dunlavy agreed.
“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 told those in attendance at the ribbon cutting. “I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to come together and make it happen.”