Maze plans are a go, with a little funding help

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By Ken Trainor

Plans for the renovation of the Maze Branch Library are on track after the library board voted to approve $425,000 to make up for a shortfall in the estimated Maze project budget. According to the latest estimates, the renovation will cost $2,503,642, while the leftover Main Library building funds total $2,122,376.

Library trustees at the February board meeting approved a fund balance transfer to make up the shortfall with the proviso that aggressive fundraising take place and that those funds be used first if raised.

Jim Madigan, assistant library director, said three fundraising strategies would be pursued: CDBG grants (Community Development Block Grants) through the village, the sale of bricks (similar to a campaign at the Main Library), and state aid.

There's not a lot of state aid available, however, Madigan said. In 1999, the library applied for and obtained a Technology and Construction Grant of $150,000 for the Dole renovations. This year that program has $160,000 available for the entire state thanks to budget cutbacks, said Madigan.

But the library is reaching out to the local state legislators. Most have taken a tour of the Maze Branch, and all have committed to helping seek more state funding.

In the meantime, the library has a sufficient fund balance to allow the work to go forward until fundraising efforts produce results. "We spent $430,000 on the Dole renovations," noted Madigan. "It's only right to devote that much to Maze."

The plans include increased accessibility and enlargement of the facility, with a new back portion added, which would include an elevator. An interior ramp is also planned behind the circulation desk, allowing access between the children's area and the adult section.

"The feedback we got, especially from people with disabilities," Madigan said, "is that people want choices."

One of those options includes raising the front entrance to eliminate the lobby stairs. The front door would be accessible by long ramp sidewalks cutting across the front lawn.

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