Library supporters turned out in force last night and the City Council voted 14-1 to approve borrowing for the Library renovation/expansion project. Hooray! Thank you all!
Thanks to this YES vote, the project will now roll forward very quickly. COMMUNITY MEETINGS to see preliminary plans have been set for next week, Thursday May 13. (Two Spanish meetings 10am & 4pm; two English 11:30am & 5:30pm at the Library.) The architectural firm from Boston is now hard at work creating drawings and scenarios for public input. At least 3 choices will be on view.
A second day of community meetings (to look at refinements after a preferred plan has been selected) is scheduled for Tuesday May 25.
The 2009/2010 year has been a very active one! The Friends group has had representatives attending a wide range of meetings regarding the long-awaited building project. We have been well represented on the Campaign Working Committee, led by the FDA team hired by HPL Corp to direct the fundraising. We set up TOURS of the building in January to educate our membership about the conditions of the existing structure (see photo of old stacks, which no longer meet building codes). We participated in interviews for hiring the Owner's Project Manager (OPM). One of us was then invited to join the Building Committee, and participated in reviewing 14 Design Team proposals, interviewing 6 teams, and recommending an architectural/design team.
The Friends group was asked in September 2009 to make a formal pledge to the Library Building Campaign. We did so, pledging $100,000! Of this, $26,000 was donated immediately and another $14,000 promised to be paid before June 2010 -- to be used during this year to offset costs associated with redesign of schematics required by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). The remaining $60,000 is to be raised in future years, conditional on City commitment to bonding for the project.
President Tim Damon and Sandy Ward visited many other public libraries in western Mass. Sandy made several trip to eastern MA libraries as well, focusing particularly on historic buildings with new additions. We can learn from these examples. See Sandy's "Ideas from elsewhere" photo albums.