State honors Pittsfield leaders for spirit of library renovation

Posted Aug. 25, 2008, at 9:22 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Town and library officials have accepted the Governor’s Award for Community Spirit from state Economic and Community Development Commissioner John Richardson.

The award is given each year for the Community Development Block Grant project that reflects true community spirit.

“This is a fantastic grassroots project spanning several years bringing amazing resources together and so reflects the true spirit of the Community Development Block Grant program,” Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said Monday.

Earlier this year, Pittsfield was awarded a $150,000 historic preservation grant for renovations to the lower level of the Pittsfield Public Library.

“The restoration and expansion of Pittsfield’s 104-year-old Carnegie Library is part of the town’s long-term vision for development of the community,” Ruth said. From 2001 through 2008, hundreds of people have been involved.

“Prior to going forward with fundraising and drawing plans, consultations were held with the town’s business leaders who provided gifts in kind of engineering and construction planning,” she said. “A community survey was completed and townspeople were informed of progress through handouts, brochures at public events and a video on display at the library.”

The first phase of the project is the historic preservation work to repair major structural damage to the foundation of the library. Ruth explained that the work includes removing basement partitions, ceilings, concrete floor and subgrade; and installing underdrain, crushed stone and other materials to prevent the flow of water through the foundation; replacing partitions and ceilings and creating a new lower level configuration; repairing areas of upper level plaster that have cracked due to settling; and outside drainage work.

The second phase will be the $1 million expansion of the library.

The plaque designating the award will be formally accepted at the Sept. 2 Town Council meeting, Ruth said, although town officials traveled to the Pine Tree State Arboretum last week to accept the award from state officials.

Those attending the Augusta event were Ruth; Librarian Lyn Smith; Ann McGowan, capital campaign committee chairwoman; Donna Chale, town councilor and library events coordinator; Bette Bagley, library capital campaign committee; and Barbara Jones, capital campaign committee.

“This is a true grassroots effort.” Ruth said. “Fifty-two local fundraising events have been held and 40 foundation and grant awards have been realized. With nearly 500 individuals, 44 businesses and 18 organizations donating to the project, along with the towns of Pittsfield, Detroit and Palmyra, amazing resources have been brought together to restore and expand this community facility.”

The library renovation project is scheduled to begin on Sept. 2, and should be completed by Dec. 7, this year.

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