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State Grants Belmont $7.5 Million For New Library

Will pay for 40 percent of construction costs of proposed new building.

The Belmont Library Foundation and the Belmont Board of Library Trustees were awarded a $7.5 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners today, Oct. 4, to construct a new $18 million library proposed to be built across Concord Avenue from the current library location.

Eight projects around the Bay State were awarded for general construction grants by the Board of Library Commissioners at its Oct. 4 Board Meeting. Belmont was the second ranked project in the 2010-11 grant round.

The $7.5 million grant was nearly the entire $8 million the trustees requested two years ago in July 2011 when they applied for the grant.

The 45,000 square foot, two-story building – compared to the 29,000 square feet in the present library – will consist of two sections; a front facing Concord Avenue and a narrower back section extending into what is now Belmont High School softball field.

The read more about the design of the new library, go to Belmont Patch's article "New Library's Grant Application Off To The State."

The trustees and the foundation have just begun efforts to raise private funds to offset the nearly $10 million it would take to build the new structure to replace the nearly 45-year-old structure adjacent to the Underwood Pool.

Libraries in this grant round are the first to benefit from revised Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program regulations, approved by the Board in January 2010, which increase the average grant award from 35 percent to half of the eligible costs.

The Green Library Incentive, approved by the Board in September 2008, was also enhanced so that libraries can plan energy efficient systems and construction at the outset of the project and be eligible for additional state funding.

The trustees are celebrating the news by inviting all those who helped in the process of planning the grant application and Belmont residents who supported the project to attend a small "thank you" celebration at the library on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon, which happens to be on the first day of the library's annual book sale. The celebration will be outside in front of the library, weather permitting. Otherwise it will be held upstairs in the main lobby.

Those interested in helping with the new library, or if you’re willing to volunteer to help with a campaign or maybe make a donation should contact the Belmont Library Foundation.  You may visit their website or send an email to mellynch70@verizon.net.

K. Bonnin October 08, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Labbrat - Love our library and would love to see an extensive renovation (which I think would still cost taxpayers less than what we would have to contribute for a new library). The current library has been allowed to fall apart for years by the 'Friends' and other new library advocate - the worse it looks, the louder the clamor for a new building, right? Kudos to the custodian - I don't know his name - but he is one of the hardest working guys in Belmont - keeps the place spotless!
Clare McDermott October 08, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Dalton- I know exactly the custodian you're speaking of. A Latino gentleman who's incredibly hardworking and friendly. Really nice of you to call attention to him.
Franklin Tucker October 08, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I agree with Clare McDermott, thanks for noting one of the many hard-working custodians at the library. As for the cost of renovating the library, it turns out that the cost - which will include a brand new roof and infrastructure - will cost just about $10 million, the same amount the town will need to bond to build the new library. No funding advantage to renovating. fbt
Waverly Watchdog October 11, 2012 at 01:59 AM
I believe that is a ruse. From the estimates I've seen, and what I know about the costs of construction, a realistic estimate to repair what exists is far less that the proponents claim, and the cost of a new library will be far, far higher. It is but the first domino in a very, very expensive, Taxpayer funded, chain. BTW, I note that the Citizen-Herald has LOCKED OUT all comments about this issue. I can but wonder why?
Yorikke October 11, 2012 at 07:25 PM
This library has not been allowed to "fall apart" by the Friends of the Belmont Public Library, who have nothing to do with its upkeep. It has not been allowed to fall apart by anyone. It is simply old and worn out, and poorly designed to begin with.

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