Cranbury Public Library officials vie for state funding for a new library

0
326
Artist rendering of the proposed stand alone Cranbury Public Library.

Cranbury Public Library officials are ready to continue the process of securing funds for a stand-alone public library in town.

As of now, officials have raised about $2.35 million in private donations for the project. The project is estimated to cost about $4.4 million, according to officials.

Officials are looking to apply for state funds to raise the total needed to cover the cost of the new building.

However, officials are still waiting on the state to publish the rules for officials to apply for a portion of the $125 million made available to them from the state Library Construction Bond Act. The act was established in 2017 after a statewide referendum.

“What the state did in July is publish the draft regulations and give you 60 days to write in questions or comments. The state takes about 30 days after that to look it over and then publish the rules on how we can apply for this,” said Kirstie Venanzi, president of the Cranbury Public Library Board of Trustees. “That is what we are waiting on pins and needles for and that should be any day now.”

According to state officials, the Library Construction Bond Act is for the purpose of the construction, reconstruction, development, extension, improvement and furnishing of state’s public libraries.

The new library building is slated to be constructed on township-owned land when funding is secured and the project’s process continues. The land in town is located at Park Place West. Right now the land is open space.

“We have been planning to have a new library for decades. We were always hoping the new library would become a reality,” Venanzi said. “We established a foundation in 2009 and raised more than $2 million from it. This really has been an evolving process.”

To begin making the building a reality, library officials surveyed residents in 2006. Officials found that a vast majority of residents really like the library. The library then did a capital assessment of the town to see if it would be able to raise the money, which the assessment confirmed.

Venanzi said the new library would be a community space for Cranbury and is needed because the existing library has run out of space.

“We do need a community space where all of Cranbury residents are welcome to meet and attend programs and get their books. We also really have just run out of space,” Venanzi said. “That is the same space we have been in since 1969 and is shared with The Cranbury School. The school has been wonderful with putting up with us, but it is time for us to leave.”

Venanzi said she believes Cranbury is an excellent candidate for state funding because its project fits the need.

Back in July, township officials discussed and agreed to hold a township-wide referendum in 2020 in case the state rejects to funding the library’s new building.

For more information about the new library, visit www.cranburylibraryfoundation.org.