November 15, 2012

Winthrop Town Council guarantees library construction donations

Unanimous resolution ensures donated C.M. Bailey Public Library expansion funds will only go to library project

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WINTHROP -- What is donated to the library building fund stays with the library building fund.

That's the bottom line of a recent Town Council resolution. It guarantees that money from donors who contribute to the $1.35 million campaign for an addition to the C.M. Bailey Public Library will be spent on that and on nothing else.

The building fund restriction was requested by a donor who is pledging a large amount of money to the campaign, said Richard Fortin, the library's director. Fortin, who said he did not know the name of the donor or how much money was being pledged, said the person did not want the money to go to the town's general fund if the library project doesn't happen.

"We didn't want to lose this donor," Fortin said.

Earlier this week, the Town Council met and adopted an order drafted by Town Manager Jeffrey Woolston and town attorney Lee Bragg that said money donated for the building fund would be returned if the project did not proceed.

The campaign is still in its early phases and has yet to go public, Fortin said. So far, about $300,000, a quarter of the money needed, has been raised.

The plan is to tear down the town-owned Masonic building next door and build an addition to the library, which is at the corner of Bowdoin and Summer streets. It was designed by Maine architect John Calvin Stevens and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Masonic building has been empty for some time, and reusable materials including woodwork and doorknobs have been stored so they can be incorporated into the addition, Fortin said.

Meantime, the century-old library is getting a new slate roof. S.J. Wood Construction Co. of Winthrop won the project with a bid of just over $92,000, and two slate specialists from Vermont have been doing the work.

"It's really like an art form doing that slate," Fortin said.

Half the work is funded by a grant from the Communities for Maine's Future program, and the other half is from an endowment fund administered by the library's board of trustees.

The new roof should be completed this month, Fortin said.

Pieces of slate had been falling from the roof, raising major safety concerns. Library workers also put out buckets when heavy rain is forecast because rainwater penetrated masonry near the roof and leaked into the ground-floor children's room.

More recently, workers discovered there was no insulation in the attic or in the ceiling above the reading room. Insulation was being blown in this week.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

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