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CHICOPEE — The former central library project received its final source on funding after the American Rescue Plan Act Committee approved a $3.2 million proposal at its Feb. 6 meeting.

After meeting with the City Council to receive most of the funding for the former central library project on Jan. 30, the additional ARPA funds were the last source of money that needed to be secured to start the project.

The estimated cost of the project is approximately $10.7 million including the lowest bid the project received, an owner’s project manager, Architect, independent material testing and contingencies.

Anticipated funding sources included the remaining ARPA funds, a state legislature earmark for $500,000 and bonding that was already allocated.
In 2019, a bond authorization was approved by the City Council in the amount of $750,000 to repair the leaking roof but Americans with Disabilities Act compliance was not included in the estimate.

There was also $3.5 million in ARPA funds set aside for the project with only approximately $824,000 of it being used for assessment and design work.
The total anticipated funding sources is $3.9 million bringing the total balance remaining to $6.8 million.

The three potential sources of funding to complete the project included additional ARPA funding, the Stabilization fund and/or bonding.

On Jan. 30, the City Council agreed to increase the bond authorization of this project by $1.75 million, use $2.1 million from the stabilization fund and create a former central library commission for the project.

After the City Council approved two of the sources for funding, the ARPA Committee approved using $3.2 million in additional ARPA funds to help start the project.

The building that has sat vacant for 20 years might finally have a path to being used again.

Right now, the building needs many repairs to be viable to be used including adding an elevator, replacing the roof, fixing and adding new mechanical systems, life safety systems, security and fire suppression and upgrading the limited electricity.

Planning Director Lee Pouliot said the project is anticipated to be a 10-month construction project with another two months being for closeout with early 2025 being a potential time for this building to be usable.

The proposed use will not be officially known until the construction is complete but some ideas include a community space for evening meetings, offices for the cultural council, offices for the commission on disability, use for small business programs, have a farmer’s market inside during bad weather along with helping address city space issues.

Vieau said, “Its taken us quite a journey to get us where we are. The goal has been since being a member of the City Council to mayor, to find a way to get some activity and reactivate the central library.”

tgarnet@thereminder.com | + posts