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Cranbury Public Library to receive $2.32 million in state funds for library building project

Artist rendering of the proposed stand alone Cranbury Public Library.

The Cranbury Public Library Board of Trustees will receive $2.32 million in state grant funding from the New Jersey Construction Bond Act for a freestanding library.

Trustees had been waiting for the official announcement of the amount they applied for and hoped to receive for the future project, which arrived on Nov. 20, when Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation authorizing the funding appropriations for the first round of funding from the Library Construction Bond Act.

Library funds already gathered matching the state grant are at least $2.32 million. The funds to match the grant come from private fundraising through the Cranbury Public Library Foundation and the board of trustees reserving funds over the years for a new building.

“The exact amount is still growing as the foundation is still receiving donations although active fundraising was suspended after the New Jersey Construction Bond Act passed in November of 2017,” said Kirstie Venanzi, president of the Cranbury Public Library Board of Trustees. “The New Jersey State Library will require that we show that we have the funding in order to have the grant proceed.”

The state grant gives the library a little more than $4.65 million in total funds for the stand-alone building project.

“We anticipate that this amount of the raised, saved, plus the grant, should be enough to cover the full cost of the building.  We had included escalation in our estimates and plans,” Venanzi said. “Since we went out to bid in 2017 with the full architectural drawings, we have made several minor adjustments to windows and a door to a back patio area. The building is essentially the same as the one we have been developing in concert with the community.”

The next step for the library will be receiving the grant award letter from State Librarian Mary Chute, which is set to outline the requirements to proceed.

The new library is expected to be constructed on township-owned land after funding has been secured. The 14-acre parcel is at Park Place West and is also within walking distance from the Cranbury School. Currently, the land is open space.

The proposed one-story library building would be 11,600 square feet, according to the Cranbury Public Library Foundation website. The new building would include a children’s area with storytime space, teen area with laptop networking capability, an 80-person capacity large meeting space, study rooms, working areas for adults, and a CreativeSpace electronic lab.

“I am thrilled and relieved that we can proceed with the plans for a new library home,” Venanzi added. “On behalf of the Cranbury Public Library Board of Trustees, as well as the library staff, plus all of the donors and supporters, I think I can say that we are very happy that the town is moving toward having our community library building.”

Library operations currently operate out of two locations in Cranbury. The downtown location is out of the first floor at Odd Fellows Hall on 30 N. Main St. and a second location not open to the public is at back office location in an office park on 109 S. Main St.

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