BANGOR, Maine — The morning after voting results were revealed, workers were setting up staging for the 7-month replacement project of the Bangor Public Library’s century-old copper roof.
“We were ready to go,” library Director Barbara McDade said Wednesday afternoon.
Bangor voters overwhelmingly approved the library’s $3 million bond for the replacement of its roof during Tuesday’s special election, which drew an unusually strong turnout of 2,200 voters.
“Staff and the board and I are just overwhelmed with the support, we are just so grateful,” McDade said.
Roof Systems of Maine is the contractor for the roof replacement.
Unofficial election results from the city show that the bond measure received vast approval, with 1,852 voters in favor, 248 opposing and 4 blanks.
The bond is one-third of a $9 million renovation and modernization project at the library. Library staff are working to raise its third of the project, and has raised $1.7 million to date.
Stephen and Tabitha King offered to foot the bill for $3 million, but only if the library succeeds in getting the other $6 million. The Kings turned out to vote early during Tuesday’s election.
After election results came in around 11 p.m., the Kings released this statement: “We’re delighted and very happy to be from a city that cares about its cultural heritage and wants to protect it. Bangor voters did a fine thing today.”
The library expects to unveil its renovation plans to the public during a forum on July 10 and will consider feedback it receives at that meeting as it moves forward with designs, according to McDade.
On that same date, the library plans to launch the public phase of its effort to raise the remaining $1.3 million for the project. So far, the library has only sought donations in private during it’s “quiet phase” of the campaign, according to McDade. This will be the public’s chance to pitch in, she said.
McDade said the library and its board sends thanks to residents who turned out to support the effort.
Betsy Webb, superintendent of the Bangor School District, said Wednesday afternoon that she was pleased with the voting results pertaining to finances for education in the city.
“The City of Bangor has a long tradition of supporting the School Department,” Webb said. “The school system is appreciative of their support and will continue to work hard to make the community proud of their schools.”
The school department’s $42 million budget received 1,773 votes in favor, 406 against and 23 blanks. The question asking whether voters wanted to continue to ratify school budgets on an annual basis for the next three years was the tightest, with 1,271 in favor, 899 against and 33 blanks.
“It was impressive to see the voter turnout this year, and we hope community members will continue to make voting a priority,” Webb said.