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From left, State Reprsentative Noreen Kokoruda, State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., and Scranton Library Board of Trustees President Beth Coyne gather in front of E.C. Scranton Memorial Library on May 27 to announce $1 million in state aid for the proposed library renovation project. (Photo by Zoe Roos/The Source | Buy This Photo)
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State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. (D-12) and State Representative Noreen Kokoruda (R-101) joined local officials and members of the library board on May 27 to announce an additional $1 million in state aid for the renovation and expansion of E.C. Scranton Memorial Library.
The money comes after the library received an anonymous $500,000 donation a few weeks ago and a $1 million construction grant for the project from the Connecticut State Library Board in November 2015.
Library Director Beth Crowley thanked both representatives and said she was thrilled to receive the money.
“This is an amazing day for us,” she said. “We now have $2 million coming to Madison from the state.”
The project to renovate the library has been estimated at $14 million; the library originally planed to raise $2 million with the majority of the cost, $12 million, coming from town through bonding. While the total project cost hasn’t changed, Board of Trustees President Beth Coyne previously stated that they may now ask the town for $10 million thanks to the substantial donations that have already rolled in.
“We are here to receive this great news—money that will help us when we go to referendum to have to ask for less,” said Coyne. “We have an exciting plan for improvement, taking the buildings that we have and face lifting and expanding where we can to really bring the Scranton Library up to where it should be.”
The current renovation plan for the library is a scaled-down version of the plan that Madison voters narrowly defeated in a 2008 referendum vote. Current designs for the building would work to preserve the historical architecture while improving the streetscape and expanding the floor plan. The square footage of the building would jump from 17,000 to 37,000 and add a 45-space parking lot.
First Selectman Tom Banisch said, “I am really pleased that this is happening. I think it shows that the constant fundraising efforts have paid off.”
Kennedy said he knows how important the library is to Madison and was pleased to be able to secure this funding.
“We know Scranton library is the heart and soul of Madison as many of our libraries are the real epicenters of our communities,” he said. “Libraries have evolved and no longer are they these little nooks of solitude, they have really become our community hubs and we want to do whatever we can to ensure Madison has the resources to expand the library.”
Kokoruda said Madison is ready to take this project all the way.
“I am excited about this,” she said. “It is what Madison deserves and it is certainly what our community needs and I am so delighted that all of us can get out there and really support this project because I for one think it the right thing for Madison. The time is now.”
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