Stockbridge library receives $400,000 toward renovation project

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STOCKBRIDGE >> Library and town officials are jubilant following word from Secretary of State William Galvin that the $3.2 million library renovation and expansion is getting $400,000 in historic-preservation tax credits to help fund the project now underway.

"We're thrilled to get it," said Stockbridge Library, Museum and Archives Director Katie O'Neil. She had applied for the maximum grant, $500,000, but noted that the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which oversees the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program, rarely allots the full amount. Nevertheless, the library may apply for another $100,000.

"We look forward to working with you toward the successful completion of your project," Galvin wrote to O'Neil in a letter dated Nov. 12. "We hope that this allocation will help you achieve your preservation goals."

The state grants max out at 20 percent of what the commission calls "qualified rehabilitation

expenditures."

Here's how the tax credit program works: Since the Stockbridge Library pays no taxes, it will receive a $400,000 "certificate" from the state; the library then sells that certificate to a for-profit entity that can use it. Once it's sold, the library receives the $400,000.

$3.2 million goal

Stockbridge Select Board Chairman Stephen Shatz, along with board members Deb McMenamy and Charles Gillett, congratulated the library for its successful application.

Shatz credited U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, and his staff for assistance, "without which the library's efforts would not have been as successful."

The library's multi-year capital campaign has now raised $2 million toward its $3.2 million goal, with a target date of late 2015 to complete the effort, O'Neil said. It's the first major renovation of the historic library, which opened in 1864, since 1937.

Another application for a $500,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund is being submitted this week, she added. A decision from the state is expected next March.

Allegrone Construction Co. is handing the project, having submitted the lowest bid at $2.5 million.

An additional $700,000 is allotted for furniture, fixtures including bookstacks and chairs, new equipment such as computers, legal and consultant fees and insurance, said O' Neil.

"We were lucky to have support from the Stockbridge Historical Commission and the Select Board," she noted.

'Vote of confidence'

"We're delighted from the major vote of confidence from the state's historic preservation office," said Matt Blumenfeld, president of Financial Development Agency, an Amherst-based fundraising consulting firm that worked with the library.

He noted that "it was our idea" to apply last August for the historic-preservation tax credits after it conducted a study of the project.

The library also collaborated with Doug Kelleher of Epsilon Associates in Maynard, an environmental engine and consulting company.

The project is expected to be completed next August and is set to create nearly 100 jobs, according to O'Neil.

The library is likely to reopen by October, she added.

Portions of the collection are temporarily available for loan at the Stockbridge Train Station, while museum archives are at the Merwin House, 14 Main St.

Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.


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