Friends of the Alamosa Public Library present $15,000 to the library, represented by Salai Taylor, left, and City Councilor Greg Gillaspie, right. Friends are from left Don Thompson, Arvilla Weldon, Kris Steinberg, Gena Akers, Tim Dellett and Erin Smith.
ALAMOSA — It was a rare night indeed when not one but two groups offered — rather than asked for — money to the Alamosa city council.
The Friends of the Alamosa Public Library presented their largest check ever to the library during the city council’s December 5th meeting, and the disbanding AURA (Alamosa Uptown & River Association) group wanted to give a portion of its remaining funds to the city for art projects in Alamosa.
The Friends’ donation totaled $15,000, and AURA offered $8,357.
Friends President Erin Smith told the council the $15,000 was probably the largest amount the group had ever raised through its fund-raising book sales throughout the year. The money will be used to develop a special needs section in the library, update and maintain the Spanish collection, which was begun 10 years ago, and expand the CD/audio section, primarily with nonfiction selections, Smith explained.
Friends member Tim Dellett said he was proud of the partnerships the Friends has with the library and the city. These partnerships have resulted in improvements to the building used by the group for its storage and book sales. The Friends also have an area in the library where used books are sold.
“It’s a fun effort to be involved in,” Dellett said.
Councilors thanked the Friends for all their hours and efforts in holding various book sales throughout the year to raise money for special library projects.
Councilor Marcia Tuggle said she makes use of the book sales as a donor and recipient because her job takes her on the road frequently, and she likes to have a good book along to read in her motel room. She has donated books from her shelves as well and encouraged other Alamosans to do the same.
As a teacher, Councilor Leland Romero said he especially appreciated the fact that some of the funds raised by the Friends would be used for a special needs section.
Mayor Kathy Rogers told the group, “We know how hard you work, and we appreciate you. Thank you for all you do. We are forever grateful. That’s an amazing gift.”
The council also gratefully accepted AURA’s offer of funds during its meeting Wednesday night.
Tawney Becker and Rob Oringdulph asked the council if it was willing to accept the group’s remaining funds as it disbands.
Oringdulph said the group has been distributing some of its funds but wanted to present a special gift to the city of funds Tom Vendola donated in his brother Rich’s memory. Rich Vendola, who died in a motorcycle accident, was a businessman who had a vision to improve Alamosa’s gateways, especially along the Rio Grande.
Becker added these funds could be specified for a project along the lines of Rich Vendola’s vision to celebrate the Rio Grande.
Councilman Greg Gillaspie, who sat on the AURA board in the past, said, “I hope somewhere this can be a tribute to Rich Vendola and his vision.”
Mayor Rogers said, “We will honor that and make it something that will benefit the community.”
She said for the past couple of years city councilors had talked about the need to beautify Alamosa’s entrances, specifically the east entrance. She said this would fit into that discussion, and when the city council was ready to use this money, she wanted the former AURA members to be part of the discussion on how it would be used.
Tuggle said she was sad to see the organization disband but appreciated its legacy of improvements in Alamosa. The group worked on numerous historic building projects, for example.