The Springfield City Library hosted a groundbreaking ceremony earlier today for the new East Forest Park branch 136 Surrey Road in Springfield. The ceremony featured a number of speakers, including Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, State Senator Eric P. Lesser, State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo Jr., and additional members of the Springfield legislative delegation, Commissioner of Health & Human Services Helen Caulton-Harris, Springfield City Library Director Molly Fogarty, Ward 7 City Councilor Tim Allen, state officials, members of the Springfield Library Foundation, and more.
“For well over 40 years, they’ve talked about a standalone East Forest Park Library – I’m so glad that my administration has been able to deliver on this neighborhood enhancement project. Especially after the devastating EF-3 tornado, this is a true testament of the resiliency of our East Forest Park residents,” said Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “Many thanks go out to my City team, our state officials, our generous benefactors and a very special thanks to former Mayor Charlie Ryan and our Library Foundation for their unyielding drive and support of our entire library system.”
“The residents of East Forest Park have been without a full-service library for the better part of the last 50 years, and I’m excited to see this neighborhood have a permanent library of its own. This is a significant investment for Springfield, and will contribute to this neighborhood’s revitalization after the 2011 tornado, alongside the new Pope Francis High School,” said State Senator Eric P. Lesser.
“This is a great day for East Forest Park. This new free-standing, state of the art library will be a great addition to our neighborhood for many generations to come,” said State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr.
Helen Caulton-Harris, Commissioner of Health & Human Services, expressed her excitement. “As a member of the Library Foundation, the Commissioner of Health & Human Services and a resident of East Forest Park, I am extremely proud of this effort to promote neighborhood stabilization. We understand as a City that health is mental, physical, spiritual and emotional and the library represents all facets of health for our community, and education is the great equalizer!”
“Many thanks to all who supported this library in any way, but most of all my thanks and good will go out to the neighbors in East Forest Park who always wanted this library and had the will to stick with it. The fabulous turnout at this morning's rainy groundbreaking ceremony was a sign of that will and desire. A year from November, we will be able to hold the ceremony inside if it rains! Congratulations and thanks to all,” said City Councilor Tim Allen.
Library Director Molly Fogarty expressed her enthusiasm. She said, “After years of community activism, land studies, grant applications, and funding coordination, we’re finally breaking ground on what will be one of the most significant libraries in the region. The positive impact on city residents will be immeasurable. We’re so grateful to everyone who has made project possible.” According to Fogarty, the new library is expected to be a “model for the future”.
At 17,468 square feet, the new building will provide a permanent home for the East Forest Park Branch Library, which is the second busiest branch in the city but currently housed in an inadequate strip mall storefront. The new facility will offer a Family and Children’s area, dedicated Young Adult area, a Maker Space lab, a large community meeting room, quiet study rooms, dozens of computer stations, book and media collections, an outdoor patio and reading garden, and 45 parking spaces with easy access to the building. The new library will also be connected to the nearby Mary A. Dryden Veterans Memorial School via a special path for children.
The building project was made possible due to strong and vocal support from East Forest Park neighborhood residents, which led to a $4.9 million state grant, strong municipal funding, and additional funds raised through the Springfield Library Foundation’s Promise Realized Campaign. The new facility was designed by Johnson Roberts Associates, Inc. and will be built by W.J. Mountford Co.; construction is expected to last approximately 14 months.
About the Springfield City Library
Founded in 1857, the Springfield City Library provides over 800,000 free print, physical, and digital resources for public enrichment. To learn more, visit www.springfieldlibrary.org.
About the Springfield Library Foundation
The Springfield Library Foundation was formed in 2005 and is incorporated as a 501(c)3 tax exempt, not-for-profit corporation organized and operated exclusively for the benefit of the Springfield City Library. The Foundation has two primary purposes:
- To responsibly steward and manage endowed and other funds entrusted to the Foundation’s care by donors going back more than a century ago.
- To encourage philanthropy and raise new funds, both restricted and unrestricted, in support of the Library’s programs, materials, services and facilities.
Fulfilling these two purposes will enrich the lives of every library patron, and ensure that Springfield’s Library system remains vibrant and responsive to community needs.
For further information, please contact: Jessica Pérez Blasko, Community Relations Coordinator for the Springfield City Library. She can be reached at (413)263-6828, ext. 422, or firstname.lastname@example.org.