Hopewell Boro Library Expansion and Relocation Proposed

Hopewell Boro Library Expansion and Relocation Proposed

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Changes may be brewing in Hopewell Boro and residents are encouraged to chime-in.

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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.  

6286232.1HPL 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.

Public meeting information will be available on the Hopewell Borough and Hopewell Public Library websites as well as on MercerMe.

 

Feature Image Credit: Hopewell Public Library

* NOTE: Edit on 3/16/14 to reflect that Jamie Sapoch is a volunteer fundraising advisor.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Two very important details…the boro will have rental income (3 years, I believe, but not 100% sure of the length of time) from Amy Karyn while the library fundraises and will also be able to sell the existing building. Together, these two sources of income will go a LONG way in minimizing the burden of the purchase price of the new building. I think it is an excellent opportunity.

  2. Thank you for the additional information and your input, Heidi. Ryan and I will be at the library event Saturday night — maybe we’ll see you there!

  3. […] HOPEWELL BOROUGH.  The Hopewell Public Library (HPL) held a public meeting Monday night to update the community about and seek feedback on plans for a property purchase and relocation of the existing library.  HPL plans include the purchase of 64 East Broad Street by the Borough of Hopewell, with the intent to renovate that property and relocate the library. About 50 interested residents, patrons and taxpayers filled the Hopewell Elementary School Cafeteria to listen and comment on the HPL’s proposal for more than 90 minutes.  MercerMe’s coverage on initial proposal can be found here. […]

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