On June 16, the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) approved a $500,000 grant to Washakie County for renovations of the former Ace Hardware building to be used for the Washakie County Library, Worland-Ten Sleep Chamber of Commerce and the Washakie Development Association. Space will be created in the 19,452 square foot building for business incubation, entrepreneurial use, and workforce training.
This puts the library one step closer to the expanded, modernized space it has needed for years — county and community leaders have been studying options for the library since 2007.
“I’m so excited that Washakie County was awarded this grant,” said Karen Funk, Library Director. “The new library will soon become our community’s shining star. This project is a great example to other counties on how working together under one roof — library, Chamber of Commerce, Youth Alternatives, and Washakie Development Association — can benefit the entire community and enhance the downtown area.”
This money will be matched with $1.8 million in local dollars and over $500,000 in in-kind contributions. The community has raised over $1 million in private donations with the rest of the cash and in-kind match provided by the Washakie Development Association and Washakie County.
The grant was a Community Enhancement project through the Wyoming Business Council’s Business Ready Community Grant and Loan Program. When the WBC board met on May 7, they unanimously recommended it for funding. They praised Washakie County for the planning that went into the project and the large match they obtained. Board member Kim DeVore described the project as “an absolute pleasure and a slam dunk.” The project is expected to revitalize Worland’s downtown and encourage economic development and innovation.