TRAVERSE CITY — Library services in Blair Township are a step closer to becoming a reality thanks to a $100,000 bequest to the Traverse Area District Library from the trust of former township leaders.
The Trust of Arthur and Mary Schmuckal made the donation about a year after the death of Art Schmuckal in November 2012, and 14 years after the death of his wife, Mary. The gift is restricted for use as a capital grant for the “establishment or enhancement” of library services in Blair Township, where the Schmuckals were community leaders and visionaries, TADL officials said.
Art Schmuckal founded Schmuckal Oil Co. in 1955 and was a Blair Township supervisor who wanted to bring a library to the community of about 8,210 residents, said current township Supervisor Patrick Pahl. He said the township library committee has been fundraising for the project for 14 years.
“They have been struggling and Art realized it and this was his way of giving it a push to make it a reality,” Pahl said.
Currently the TADL network of community libraries includes the Woodmere (main), East Bay and Kingsley Branches, along with member libraries Fife Lake Public Library, Interlochen Public Library and Peninsula Community Library.
TADL director Metta Lansdale said the Schmuckals’ gift represents a “new beginning” for a long-term effort.
“We are honored to be entrusted with this investment in the future of library services for Blair Township,” she said. “As all parties know, TADL does not currently have the resources to operate an additional facility. As time progresses and TADL operational revenues improve, we believe this gift will take us a long way to this goal.”
Schmuckal Oil Co. President Paul Schmuckal said his father believed there was a need in Blair Township for books, education and a library, but that the gift carries no deadline strings.
““Hopefully this will be a shot in the arm and help Blair Township and TADL work something out,” Schmuckal said.