Royalton Library Gets Grant, Bond Vote Is October 24

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Communities / Sep. 28, 2017 9:13am EDT

By Jo Levasseur

Royalton Memorial Library is moving closer to its goal of renovation for handicapped accessibility this month, due to a conditional historic preservation grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and a successful petition for a bond vote.

The library’s fund drive has raised $460,000 to date, with more donations pledged, and additional grant funds still pending. It’s been a slower process than the trustees had hoped for, but they’re now aiming to break ground in the spring of 2018, a year later than originally projected.

The bond vote for $750,000 will be held on October 24, the same day as the school merger vote, with a prevote public hearing on October 17.

Trustees Cynthia Dalrymple and Theresa Manning explained that the bond must be for the entire cost of the project in order to secure reimbursable and match funding grants, but that taxpayers will not be footing a $750,000 bill.

With $460,000 in hand, the remainder to be raised is $290,000, with the cost including $7,500 for paperwork and easements to complete the Housing and Conservation requirements. Fundraising efforts will continue, and donations contribute to securing some matching grants.

Mandated Upgrades

The library is under mandate from OSHA to correct building code, fire safety, and accessibility problems, and is now able to stay open only because the fire marshall has approved the plans to correct those deficits.

“If we don’t get the bond, we don’t know what will happen” Manning said.

Additionally, delays make building projects more expensive, and some of the construction/renovation grants expire at the end of 2018.

Conditions of the Vermont Housing and Conservation grant include the creation of handicapped parking space and other designated library parking. Architect Jay White is working on proposals to situate parking at street level on Safford Street, and the library is looking to designate Railroad Street parking during library hours.

The historic preservation grant is one of the largest awarded this year in the state, up to $60,000; but the exact figure could be affected if the state budgets less than expected to the Housing and Conservation Board.

1923 Building

Royalton’s library building, completed in 1923, is largely unaltered from its original features, with hardwood floors, ceiling beams, and fireplace. Early pictures of the interior can be seen at the library or on their website. The addition will include an elevator and handicapped accessible bathroom, while not compromising the historic features.

Donations from individuals and corporations have ranged from $5 to into the thousands, including $15,000 from the Dorothy Byrne Foundation, already matched with $10,000 donations to equal $25,000.

South Royalton’s Women’s Club contributed a total of $11,000 in disbursement of funds after its dissolution; the Vermont Arts Council has awarded a $14,018 grant, and one donor has specifically pledged to fund converting the fireplace to gas.

Fundraising also includes bake and book sales at the Interstate rest stop in Sharon, a space available to organizations on a signup basis, which Royalton utilizes about once a month, and could use more volunteers for.

To learn more about the library or how to donate, go to the website, Facebook page, list-serve, or newsletter.

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