Changes may be brewing in Hopewell Boro and residents are encouraged to chime-in.
The Hopewell Public Library (“HPL”), fondly referred to as the “red Library,” is celebrating its 100 anniversary this year. (For information on the centennial events, including this Saturday’s Gala, check out the HBL 100th Anniversary Site and the Friends of HBL’s website). As reported in the Hopewell Valley News, at last Monday’s Borough Council meeting, representatives from the HPL presented a proposal to partner with the Boro for the purchase of a nearby property to serve as a new library location.
The potential site for the new library, 64 East Broad Street, is on the market for $999,999. Formerly a Sun National Bank branch, the building is currently a furniture and design store across Broad Street from the Brick Farm Market.
HPL Board President, Woody Carsky-Wilson shared with MercerMe: “Libraries that fail to change and meet the times, will become obsolete. That is one big reason we are asking for a new library. I love the old brick building we are in now, but its day is done, for many reasons.” The historic “red library,” although very charming, is very small, quite old and in need of repair. It is also not ADA accessible and has no on site parking. The HPL board hopes this relocation will address all of the major issues present at the library’s current facility, including “parking, accessibility, pedestrian safety, adequate operation and storage needs, while providing the community with a future library consistent with the community size and anticipated demands.”
The existing building at the proposed new location has been evaluated by Ronica “Ronnie” Bregenzer, A.I.A., an architect from Princeton. In addition to viewing the property, Ms. Bregenzer will prepare proposed renderings for the public as well as be eventually retained as architect should the proposal for relocation be approved. Ultimately, the plan is to build an extension to the existing 64 East Broad building to create a centralized “hub” so as to reduce the need for additional staff. Also to keep maintenance costs down, HPL hopes to incorporate many green building elements including solar panels.
In order to fund such an undertaking, the HPL Board proposed a major multi-year capital fundraising campaign with a goal of $1.2 million for the construction and renovations, through private gifts, grants, and fundraising events. Jamie Sapoch, a Hopewell Boro resident and professional fundraiser who has successfully raised funds for organizations such as the Princeton Public Library, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, and the open space formerly known as St. Michael’s Orphanage, is volunteering as advisor for the library. Further, HPL hopes to identify possible local and federal grants to help fund the project. The current proposal would call for the Borough to purchase the new property and building, with the HPL and its foundation to fund the renovations.
There will be one public meeting, date and time TBD, held at Hopewell Elementary where HPL will provide the public with a presentation as well as answer questions or concerns. Board President, Woody Carsky-Wilson has assured MercerMe that even if individuals are unable to attend the meeting, there will be a copy of the PowerPoint presentation on the HPL website and suggestions can be dropped off at the library front desk or can be directed to the board. Acquisition by the Borough would require an ordinance approved the Hopewell Borough Council, and would present another opportunity for public comment.
Feature Image Credit: Hopewell Public Library
* NOTE: Edit on 3/16/14 to reflect that Jamie Sapoch is a volunteer fundraising advisor.