Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Library to receive $250,000 for upgrades

By Max Bakke
Journal Inquirer
Published: Thursday, December 11, 2008 11:17 AM EST

VERNON — The Rockville Public Library is planning for renovations to make the 100-year-old building handicapped accessible, thanks to financial help from the state.

The State Bond Commission is expected to release $250,000 for the project when it meets Friday.

Denise Stankovics, a spokesman for the library and one of its co-directors, said the money would be used to upgrade library bathrooms, and construct an elevator and a second staircase along the exterior of the building.

The library, also known as the George Maxwell Library, will have to raise some amount of supplemental funding for the project, which she said could begin as early as next year.

“Libraries are seeing more usage,” Stankovics said of a recent influx of patrons looking to borrow books and other materials rather than buy them in the economic downturn. “The more services we can provide … the more fully we’ll be meeting the needs of the people we serve.”

She said older and disabled patrons who are unable to use the stairs now have to exit the building and use an exterior ramp to access some sections of the library. The elevator, she said, would aid them in moving around the library more easily.

Stankovics thanked state Rep. Claire Janowksi for pushing the funds through the state legislature and onto the Bond Commission’s agenda.

“We’ve been working on this project for months, and it is a wonderful benefit for our community and a huge plus for our downtown renewal efforts,” Janowski said in a statement.

The George Maxwell Library was constructed in 1904 as a gift from Maxwell’s wife to his children after his death. In addition to the building, the gift included funding to maintain and operate the facility, which continues to make up a bulk of the library’s operating budget.

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