Michael Ferrante, Foundation President, stopped by the Township Committee meeting on March 13 during the Public Comment agenda item and provided a brief update to Mayor Cook and the other members of the committee since the December update:
The donation of the new library furniture went as planned, with moving services and storage services also being donated — a huge win for the new library and show of support for the project.
The funding gap has reduced to $205,000, with outstanding pledges reducing dramatically to $160,000 from 16 donors.
The project will go out for bid in the new few weeks as the site and building plans are aligned and the bid is prepared.
The final phase of the capital campaign is the “Community Walk of Knowledge” brick program, where an outdoor space will be integrated into the “town green” concept endorsed by the Parks Commission.
No decisions were requested of or made by the Township Committee.
Three local businesses have helped to move the Cranbury Library project closer to the finish line. Bristol-Myers Squibb is renovating part of its Lawrenceville campus and is donating furniture to the Cranbury Library Foundation as it vacates one of the buildings. One hundred chairs, 75 bookshelves, as well as tables, desks and filing cabinets, will all be put to good use in the new library building. The current schedule is to break ground for the new library this spring and complete the construction by year-end.
In addition to the furniture donation by Bristol-Myers Squibb, other local businesses have pitched in to maximize the benefit of this contribution. Princeton Van Service, a locally-owned moving company based in Princeton, donated their moving services to relocate the furniture from Lawrenceville to the temporary Cranbury location until construction is completed. “We have been dedicated to serving the area for over 40 years, and glad to lend a hand as Cranbury builds a free-standing library. Libraries are of valuable importance to our community, socially and economically,” explained Louis DeCibus, the owner of Princeton Van Service.
Until the new library building is completed, the furniture will be temporarily stored in a space also being donated to the Library Foundation. Matrix Development Group owns and operates many of the warehouses on the east side of Cranbury and has agreed to store the furniture until move-in day. “We are proud to be a part of the Cranbury community and are pleased that we could help out with this important project for the town,” said Thomas McCloskey, property manager for the Matrix Development Group.
“The new library and community center is coming together with the support of so many people and companies,” explained Michael Ferrante, president of the Cranbury Library Foundation, which is charged with raising the $2.75 million required for the new building. “Over 650 local residents and businesses have donated to the project, and we’ve raised over $2.5 million as of December 31.” Once the funds are raised, the project will go out to bid, targeting a groundbreaking in late spring.
I’m very excited. After years of planning and fundraising the new library and community center is very close to having enough funds to go out to bid and then break ground in 2017! All we have to do is close the $235,000 remaining gap!
If that sounds like a lofty goal I’m happy to tell you we are well on the way. Since we started our fall campaign with a mailing to each resident in town – just days ago – we have received donations totaling over $289,000 plus a $100,000 CHALLENGE GRANT!
Several leadership donors have banded together to challenge everyone in Cranbury to become part of this community project. These donors will match new donations one-for-one up to $100,000! If you donate before the end of the year, your donation will be doubled and the Foundation will meet it’s 2016 fundraising goal. Then we can break ground in 2017!
As a donor you will become part of this exciting project that will benefit all of Cranbury for years to come. If you haven’t already donated to our Close the Gap campaign please do so now! You can find information on how to donate at www.CranburyLibraryFoundation.org.
Thank you for helping to make the new library and community center a reality.
P.S. Please share news of the CHALLENGE GRANT with friends and neighbors. Now is the time to invite all of Cranbury to support the new library and community center with a donation!
UPDATE: OUR NEW PUBLIC LIBRARY IS GETTING CLOSER We need your financial support NOW to CLOSE THE GAP in 2016!
Once completed, the library will operate with no net increase to taxpayers:
The 1% of property taxes that is allocated to operate the library is mandated by state and federal law and has been adequate to operate the library in the past.
Independent assessments have confirmed that operating the new building will cost equal to (or less than) the usage fee currently paid to Cranbury School.
No additional library staff are required to operate the new facility.
Cranbury needs a library and community center to anchor the downtown area:
Sharing a space with the school library no longer meets the public needs of our community.
Cranbury needs a freestanding public library that can serve as the “community living room,” safe learning space, and technology center for the town (plus, space for books and e-books!).
The new library will have sufficient space for adults, children, and teens to work, relax, gather, and enjoy programming in a comfortable environment, during both daytime and evening hours.
Cranbury School deserves a dedicated school library:
The Cranbury Education Foundation is planning to support reconfiguration of the current library space to become a multi-media center for the school that can provide unconstrained access for students to develop research skills critical to 21st-century public education.
PLEASE HELP US CLOSE THE GAP in 2016 and break ground in 2017!
Great news! After much work and many discussions the Planning Board has recommended our new library site plan. The final step will be a presentation to the Township Committee on November 14 or 28. Please come to the meeting and support our plan.
The process began last spring when the Library Board went to the Planning Board and Township Committee to seek approval for the conceptual library site plan at the end of Park Place West. This plan included the proposed location of the building, adjacent municipal parking lot and sidewalks.
Using the Planning Board and Township Committee feedback, engineers were hired to provide a detailed site plan. On September 15 the Library Board appeared before the Planning Board for final review.
Fifty-two Cranbury residents also attended this meeting. The residents spoke of their enthusiastic support for the library project overall. Concerns were raised, however, about preserving the vista at the end of Park Place West. They pointed out that the Master Plan advocates for the continued protection of scenic vistas and the proposed location of the library and parking lot compromised this objective.
All parties acknowledged the partial loss of the vista so the Planning Board decided to delay final recommendations on the site plan until the interested parties could meet and review the plan together.
On Monday, October 3rd, the Library Board invited community members to a meeting in the Gambino Room to talk about the site plan and find a solution agreeable to everyone. Different plans were proposed and discussed. By the end of the evening the group had come up with a design that everyone liked!
The Library Board returned to the Planning Board on October 20. The new site plan was presented. Happily it met everyone’s approval and the Planning Board unanimously voted to recommend the site design. All present applauded!
Now it’s back to the Township Committee. Check the agendas for the exact date of the meeting. Please attend or talk to a committee member. This is your chance to voice your opinion on the new library and site design.