An architect's rendering of a proposed library in Houston.

Efforts to construct a new branch of the Texas County Library in Houston received a big boost last week with a $350,000 award of state tax credits.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development presented Texas County Library Foundation Inc. the funds under the Neighborhood Assistance Program. It is a not-for-profit corporation that has led other library construction projects in the county,

The project includes an upper level to the Houston Storm Shelter at First and Pine streets in Houston. When the shelter was constructed in 2007, it was anticipated that an upper level would house a 7,200 square foot library.

The organization late last year submitted a thick application that also detailed construction plans and engineering and architectural work performed by a Rolla firm.

The state’s acceptance of the plan means Texas County Library Foundation can solicit funds totaling $500,000 that give donors generous tax breaks. For example, a dollar from an eligible donor generates 70 cents of state tax credit and also is deductible on federal returns. For someone paying at the 28 percent federal tax rate, the actual cost is about $2 for each $100 contributed.

Businesses can donate cash, materials, supplies or equipment; technical assistance and professional services; labor; real estate; or stocks or bonds. Individuals who operate a sole proprietorship, operate a farm, have rental property or have royalty income also are eligible.

The same financing method has been used twice locally in recent years by Downtown Houston Inc. for development of the Lone Star Plaza and rehabilitation of the former Haney Market that is today the Houston Visitors Center. Later, tax credits were used to develop the Melba Performing Arts Center on Grand Avenue, which featured a complete restoration of the theatre that was built in 1938, and development of the Lone Star Annex on Main Street that houses University Extension, a meeting room and commercial kitchen.

Members of the Texas County Library Foundation board are: Terry Jones, Cabool; Brad Gentry, Houston; Janet Fraley, Houston; Linda Roberts, Licking; Gwen Ross, Eunice; Cathy Sirdoreus, Bucyrus; Dala Whittaker, Cabool; Janice Lowe, Cabool; Marilyn Frisbee, Cabool; Ross Richardson, Houston; and Shelia Walker, Houston.

A joint library foundation-City of Houston application was submitted earlier for funding from Missouri’s Community Revitalization Fund, a component of the American Rescue Program Act. An announcement on successful applicants could come as soon as February. The application was submitted in November. About $100 million will be distributed.

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