SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The branch library in Springfield’s East Forest Park neighborhood is a small space, located in a shopping plaza on Island Pond Road. It may offer only 4,100 square feet of space, but it is one of the busiest of the city’s libraries. That is why it will be replaced with a brand new building.
The Springfield Library Foundation announced Tuesday morning that they are beginning a fundraising campaign to build a new, 17,000 square-foot library for neighborhood residents. Some $4.9 million for the library’s construction will come from state grant and city money, with the remaining $2 million to come from the money raised through the campaign.
The new space will offer community meeting rooms, high-speed Internet access, and handicapped-accessible entrances and restrooms; features that the current library lacks.
In a news release sent to 22News, Mayor Domenic Sarno says that the project is long overdue.
“This new library branch is a key part of revitalizing the city, especially the tornado-stricken area of our East Forest Park neighborhood. A stand-alone library for East Forest Park has been talked about for nearly 40 years. I’m proud to say that my administration is going to get it done,” Sarno said.
Former Mayor Charlie Ryan, treasurer of the Library Foundation Board, says he is confident that residents of the city will see the value of the project.
“We are looking forward to bringing the message with this branch to our fellow citizens. We trust that they will agree with us that its benefits will be felt for generations to come,” Ryan said.
The fundraising campaign for the library is called “Promise Realized,” a nod to both the potential of the East Forest Park neighborhood, and the promise to rebuild the city following the devastating June 1, 2011 tornado.