Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Springfield City Library Director Molly Fogarty announced today that the Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation has awarded $100,000 to the Springfield Library Foundation’s Promise Realized Capital Campaign. A formal presentation was held today at the East Forest Park Library at 122 Island Pond Rd.
The Springfield Library Foundation launched the $2 million capital campaign one year ago to support replacement of the current East Forest Park Branch Library with a new building. The new facility will begin construction this month thanks to a $4.9 million state grant, strong municipal support, and community funding through the Promise Realized Campaign.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “I’m very appreciative of Bill Wagner’s Chicopee Savings Foundations’ continued philanthropic efforts. It’s always a pleasure to sit down and work with Bill, and as his old tagline would say ‘we speak your language!’ Bill has always been a steadfast community champion.”
“We are so grateful for the extremely generous support of the Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation,” said Springfield Library Foundation President Patrick Markey. “This leadership gift to the Promise Realized Campaign has brought the campaign over the halfway mark toward our $2 million goal.”
Springfield City Library Director Molly Fogarty echoed the sentiment, “We could not complete this project without the support of local corporate leaders like the Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation. The new library will be a landmark development for the Springfield area and will make a huge difference in so many lives.”
“Public libraries are critical community anchors,” said Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation President William Wagner. “Libraries are where so many children learn to love reading and learning, which has a positive ripple effect throughout their lives. This project will enrich the lives of thousands for many years to come and our Foundation is very proud to make a significant philanthropic investment to support this vital institution.”
Established in 2006, The Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation is a private 501c3 foundation that grants funding to qualified 501c3 organizations serving 20 cities and towns located within the Hampshire and Hampden County area. The Foundation was originally funded through a gift of stock from Chicopee Bancorp, valued then at $5.5 million, and its holdings were converted in 2016 to Western New England Bancorp shares, the holding company for Westfield Bank. To date, the Foundation has granted over $4.5 million in funding to support our local communities and has a current net worth in excess of $8 million.
The existing East Forest Park Branch Library is one of the busiest locations in Springfield, but struggles to serve visitors with only 4,100 square feet of strip mall space. The new building will consist of 17,000 square feet of community space, including special areas for children and teens, a community room, study rooms, dozens of public computers, and a maker space.
The new building was designed by Johnson Roberts Associates, Inc. and will be built by W.J. Mountford Co.; construction is expected to last approximately 14 months. The official groundbreaking ceremony is planned for Monday, October 15 at 10:30 A.M.
In recognition of their commitment, the Library’s bright and spacious Adult Reading Collection Area will be named for the Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation. “It will be important for ongoing generations of library users to understand that this project happened as a result of private philanthropy as well as State and City support,” said Mr. Markey, “and through this commemoration, people will have a consistent reminder of the generosity that is so characteristic of our community.”
Founded in 1857, the Springfield City Library provides over 800,000 free print, physical, and digital resources for public enrichment, as well as nearly 5000 educational and recreational programs per year. To learn more, visit www.springfieldlibrary.org.