A musty, dirt-floor basement is being cleaned up and moisture mitigated below the Moniteau County Library.
Community donations, as well as the support of the library's foundation, allowed the library board to spend about $67,000 so far on improvements to the building, built in 1864 by J.G. Ehrhardt as a mercantile.
At its regular meeting Jan. 17, the library board toured the basement to discuss what has been done and what will be done to the lowest level of the property, donated 21 years ago by the California Progress Inc.
The first project was to improve the north-side sidewalks, which were becoming a liability, Director Connie Walker said.
Next, a second access to the basement was added, the original being through the director's office.
That allowed for more than 12 tons of debris and dirt, including asbestos and a chopped up old boiler, to be removed to a hazardous waste site. And some of the steal posts, serving as structural support, were given new bases, as they had rusted as the result of 4-foot high standing water in 2012 when a sump pump broke.
The third phase will begin soon — leveling the floor, adding new sump pumps and installing a vapor barrier.
The board also approved having a concrete pad poured at the base of the steps to allow for light storage and a storm shelter.
"It's been quite a project," Walker said. "It's not fun to spend money on something you can't see. But the smell is gone.
"It is our fiscal responsibility to take care of this building, to use it for this purpose as long as possible."
In other business, the board:
Heard 85 patrons, so far, have signed up for the Winter Check-out Challenge, where tickets for item check out may be placed in containers for a chance to win a gift basket.
Learned that staff hope to complete training for the new automated system Feb. 18 and then the program will go live.
Approved the bid from the Mexico-based 54 Design for web construction at $2,700, annual hosting fee of $216 and logo creation of $300.
Learned the state library fully-funded the $7,000 application for the summer reading program.
Heard the Decorate Your Valentine Box drop-in event will be held 3 p.m. to close Feb. 5 and 7.