As the Ad-hoc Library Expansion Building Committee continues to make strides to prepare for an April 2018 anticipated construction start, project donations have continued to roll in.
On July 26, the library received the first installment of a $1 million promised grant from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation. The grant was initially awarded in the summer of 2016 and is to be paid out in five yearly installments of $200,000. Once built, the children’s wing of the library will be named for the Schumann Family.
Library Director Beth Crowley said the current children’s wing of the library, which was added onto the building in the mid-1960s, was made possible by a donation from Robert Schumann’s father, John. Robert’s sons, David and Ford Schumann, now manage the foundation.
“My family has been a part of this community since 1929,” said David Schumann at the check presentation ceremony. “For many years this has been a wonderful summer home for us to enjoy all of the beach activities and play on the beach, but when we were done with the beach, the library was a great place for us to all come and gather and play and learn and I think that this grant from the Robert F. Schuman Foundation will be a great start to help the library remain relevant and become a community center where people can gather and learn and be entertained.”
The current renovation plan for the E.C. Scranton Memorial Library is a scaled-down version of the plan that Madison voters narrowly defeated in a 2008 referendum vote. Current designs for the building work to preserve the historical architecture while improving the streetscape and expanding the floor plan. The square footage of the building will jump from 17,000 to 37,000 and a 45-space parking lot will be added.
The project to renovate the library is estimated to cost $15 million, but thanks to substantial grants and fundraising efforts, the library asked the town to bond for $9.1 million. At referendum on Feb. 7, voters approved the bonding total with 1,897 “Yes” votes to 550 “No” votes.
With the funds from the recent sale of the East River Reading Room, Crowley said the library has nearly cracked the $1 million-to-go mark in its fundraising effort.
Before the referendum, library officials established a capital campaign known as “Futures” to cover the $6 million library portion of the project. When the library project passed at referendum in February, the library had about $1.6 million left to raise.
Library representative expressed great thanks for the Schumann donation. Library Board of Trustees Vice-President Henry Griggs said the influence of the Schumann family’s generosity in town cannot be underestimated.
“If you spent an hour on the Post Road at every institution on the Post Road that the Schuman family has helped… it would take you half a day to make it across town,” he said.