The construction bids for the new library and community center were opened on July 26. The Library Board and Foundation are assessing options to proceed.
On Wednesday, July 26, seventeen bids for the new library project were received and opened in a public meeting in the current public/school library. “We’ve been working towards a cost estimate for some time, and now we know the amount to proceed,” said Library Board President, Kirstie Venanzi. “While we hoped to have enough today to move forward, there is a gap of about $400,000 before we can accept the bid and award the contract. We are exploring options to see if we can complete the funding for the project in the next 90 days.”
While the Library Board assesses how to close the $400,000 gap, the library’s architect and attorney will review and qualify the lowest bid. The Library Board will report the results at the Township Committee meeting on Monday, August 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Town Hall. “We are asking our supporters to attend the meeting and let the Committee know how important this project is to them,” said Marilynn Mullen, Library Director.
The project might be helped over the finish line with some support from Trenton: last week, Governor Christie signed the NJ Library Construction Bond Act, placing it on the general election ballot in November. If approved, the act could provide matching funds for approved library construction projects in New Jersey. Timing and criteria for this project will be determined by the State Librarian.
“I was hoping we would be finished the major fundraising,” said Michael Ferrante, Library Foundation President, “but now we have clarity on exactly how far we are from the finish line. I am confident of our ability to reach our goal. All of Cranbury will benefit from this new community space.”
Donations to help close the gap can be dropped off at the library. For more information check our Ways to Give page. Over 700 Cranbury households, businesses, and civic organizations have contributed to the cause. The final phase of the campaign is the “champion brick program” where people can choose an inscription for a brick to be placed where the new building meets the 14-acre open space.
The public library has shared a space with the Cranbury School media center since the late 1960s. After acknowledging this arrangement didn’t meet the needs of either group, a foundation was set up in 2009 to raise funds for a stand-alone library and community center. The Cranbury Public Library Foundation, along with capital reserves from the Library Board, have raised $2.63 MM through private donations towards the construction of a new building. In the last twelve months, the project completed all township reviews, and the Cranbury Township Committee agreed to fund an adjacent municipal parking lot.