Library/community center plans ‘off and running’

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CARRABASSETT VALLEY – Forty or so residents turned out on a rainy Wednesday night to ask questions and offer suggestions in the fourth public hearing on the proposed $1.5 million combined library and community center.

Questions at the hearing centered on the possible future expansion of the building and the exterior look of what’s being planned as a multi-use facility, said Library/Community Center Building Committee co-chair Marcia White.

“Everyone who attended the meeting was in favor of the project,” White said. “Very upbeat about it.”

The plan for the building is to have two, 2,500 square foot wings connected by an entry hall and beyond that, a 900 square foot community meeting room.

The left wing of the building, will house the town’s public library and a children’s programming room, which would be rented by the Carrabassett Valley Pre-School three mornings a week. The right wing would house the Western Maine Centers for Children, which would rent the space. That organization manages the program currently being run out of a Sugarloaf/USA facility, which began as a community care program for employees and later expanded for use by the town.

The community meeting room was a relatively late addition to the plan. A mid-sized meeting room located at the center of the building that can provide seating for 74 will offer a space to hold larger regularly scheduled town meetings that don’t require the larger space at the Outdoor Center or the Anti Gravity Center. The current town office space provides for 35 people. The meeting room will also be able to be divided into two smaller rooms, as several senior citizens have asked for a place for meeting and playing cards, White said.

A kitchen will be available to be shared by all the spaces at the center. Each section of the building can be independently opened using a separate entrance, so the other sections can remain locked when not in use.

The construction is estimated at $1.5 million, with half to be raised through the fund raising efforts of the Library/Community Center Building Committee. To date, $220,000 has been raised in the capital campaign, in addition to the $43,000 the town has appropriated into the library reserve account.

At the last town meeting, voters approved allocating a match of up to $200,000 over the next three years to the Library Building Reserve Fund. That money will come out of the undesignated surplus account, according to town officials. Collecting individual pledges and grant writing opportunities are in the works, White said.

The next public hearing will be to finalize the plans and financing and probably be held in January, White said. The final project plan will be put to voters at the annual town meeting in March.

“We’re off and running and very excited about this,” she added.

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