February 9, 2017
By LEAH DEARBORN
LYNNFIELD — The Lynnfield Public Library Board of Trustees is inching forward in the process of building a new library by applying for a state grant.
The application, signed on Jan. 26, will now be submitted to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the status of the grant application will be announced in July of this year, said Library Director Holly Mercer in an email.
If awarded, the money will cover approximately 40 percent of eligible project costs.
The grant is for partial funding of a proposed building located on the road frontage portion of town-owned Reedy Meadow Golf Course, one-third of a mile from the current Summer Street location.
Selectman Richard Dalton has previously estimated the cost of the library will be $10 million to build. Mercer said last spring she was unsure what the final cost of the project will be.
The need for a new library arose from issues related to insufficient parking, the lack of a programming or separate teen room and an inadequately sized children’s room, according to a release about the grant.
If built, the new 25,874-square-foot library will include additional parking, meeting and program spaces, expanded youth services and additional patron seating.
“This has been quite the transitional year at the library,” said Mercer during a budget presentation at the Jan. 9 board of selectmen meeting. “We’ve put a lot of focus on what our goals are and really what it means to be a 21st century library.”
Mercer requested an increase in the library program budget to $5,000 for the fiscal year to better serve the 300 patrons on average each day who use the building.
Residents are invited to participate in a community forum in March on the building project, said the release.
A master plan survey that polled residents about town-related issues last month gave some preliminary feedback about the new library and other public building projects, although Planning Board Vice Chair Heather Sievers said the results are still being analyzed.
A survey overview given by Sievers said that people were generally in favor of new or updated town facilities, despite less enthusiasm from senior citizens.
“Final results were in the following order: library, open space, recreation center and senior center expansion, with police and fire stations lagging,” said the overview about the level of positive reactions.
Leah Dearborn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.