In January, 2017, the Library submitted its application to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for a grant of $13.7M.
What Is The Timeline?
A new Jones Library by 2020.
The Library expects to go before Town Meeting in May 2017 to obtain permission to “apply for and receive grant funds” from the MBLC. This will not be the final Town Meeting vote; no funding will be committed, any subsequent award may be declined, and only a simple majority vote will be required.
The MBLC grants will be announced in June or July of 2017. This is a highly competitive grant with approximately thirty other towns applying. Because there isn’t enough money to fund all thirty projects at once, all projects will be ranked. The top eight to ten projects will be awarded their grant funds immediately, and all other projects will be put on a waiting list. Depending on how quickly the legislature funds the construction grant program from year to year, the wait list could take between five and eight years to be fully funded. (A quick note about this grant program: these are your tax dollars which have already been appropriated for public library construction. We may as well take advantage of bringing the money back to Amherst… otherwise it will go to other Towns across the state.)
If we are in the top tier, during the Fall 2017 Town Meeting, the Trustees will seek Town Meeting approval of the “Town’s share” of the project cost. At that point, we will have a better grasp of how successful our capital campaign was. (The capital monies will offset the Town’s share; they will not be used to increase the cost of the project.)
If we are not in the top tier, we will sit back and wait until our project rises to the top. Once it does, the Trustees will have six months to ask for Town Meeting approval of the “Town’s share” of the project cost.
Once we have Town Meeting approval, we will have twelve months to begin construction (by Fall of 2018 at the earliest).