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Belleville Library Receives Challenge Grant


February 15, 2018

The Belleville community is working together on a capital campaign for a new Library and Community Center.

The Schlecht Family Foundation has generously stepped forward to challenge the community to reach their $1 million goal. Gifts or five-year pledges to the building fund will be matched on a one-to-one basis up to a total of $150,000.

“The community of Belleville has been part of the growth of Duluth Trading Company - including the many residents who have worked with us over the years. It’s meaningful to give back in this important way,” said Steve Schlecht, founder of Duluth Trading Company.

The capital campaign has raised $632,000 of the required $1 million for the Village to contribute $2 million toward the project.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the community to reach that million dollar goal in the next few months and move forward on this project,” said Library Board President Christine Belle. “We greatly appreciate the Schlecht family’s support of a new Library and Community Center for Belleville.”

Belleville Public Library launched the “It Takes a Village” campaign in late 2016 to build a new Library and Community Center. Belleville has a 140-year tradition of having a library. Belleville Public Library is heavily used by area residents with the number of items borrowed per capita at 2.5 times the statewide average. On an average day, 153 people come into the Library. Replacing our too small building with a larger 21st century library will meet our community’s needs for years to come.

In 2017, the Village purchased the former Landmark mill site on S. Park Street and the adjoining residential lot for the new library. Options to move the house currently on the lot are being explored.

“I’m very happy that we will be starting the architectural design work in early March,” said Village President Roger Hillebrand. “Generous contributions to our building fund from individuals and local businesses show how many people value a new Belleville library.”

Plans are for a 13,700 square foot library with a community room and additional meeting space available for community use during evenings and weekends when the library is closed. The goal is to provide a flexible, attractive library equipped to meet a wide range of uses from quiet, individual work to group projects and classes for all ages. Expanded space for children and teens will provide room for after school use and hands-on learning opportunities for all ages.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to double their donation,” said Library Director Bronna Lehmann. “Let’s see how quickly we can get this done.”

Building a new library is a big project for a small town. While gifts of any size are greatly appreciated, please consider a multi-year pledge from your family or business as an investment in Belleville’s future. Pledges to our building fund at Madison Community Foundation can be paid in convenient installments by check or automatic EFT payments. Donors will be recognized in the new building. All contributions are tax deductible.

Your gift to the capital campaign can honor or remember someone important in your life, recognize your business, or teach children or grandchildren about giving.

Be a Library Lover. Join other families and businesses throughout the area by pledging $1,000 over five years to help us build. That’s $200 per year, or just $16.67 per month, for five years.

Really love our library? Consider sponsoring an area of the new library such as a training or meeting room, drive-up book drop, or special collection shelving. A wide variety of naming opportunities are available.

Information about the project and options for making a donation can be found at or picked up at the current library at 130 S. Vine Street. Please contact Library Director Bronna Lehmann at (608) 424-1812 with any questions.


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