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June 28, 2023

Fitchburg library receives additional funding to offset rising cost of $40M renovation

Photo | Madore Photography LLC The interior of the Fitchburg Public Library's Wallace Library
Photo | Madore Photography LLC The Fitchburg Public Library at 610 Main St.

The Fitchburg Public Library will receive $1.5 million from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to help offset rising construction costs on the $40-million construction and renovation project.

The funding is in addition to a $12.5-million grant award from the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program, according to a Tuesday press release from the library.

“The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program is pleased to partner with local communities, like Fitchburg, using state funding to make building and renovating libraries possible,” MBLC Director James Lonergan said in the press release. “In the 35 years since the program’s inception and the more than 200 communities that have benefited from it, we have not encountered circumstances like those brought on by the pandemic. The additional funding recognizes those circumstances and further supports Fitchburg’s project which will bring economic, social, cultural, and educational opportunities to every resident of the community.”.

The project, expected to begin later in 2023, will renovate the existing Wallace Library on Main Street and will demolish and replace the youth library with a new children’s library and learning center. 

In addition to the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant, the project is being funded by $12 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding, $12 million from the City of Fitchburg, and $3.5 million from the OWL Capital Campaign, which raised money from private donors for the project, according to the City of Fitchburg website.

The project is one of many undertaken to upgrade downtown Fitchburg. Some of these include: 

  • NewVue Communities, a Fitchburg-based community development nonprofit, is beginning construction on artist housing in the former B.F. Brown Middle School near the Fitchburg Art Museum. 
  • Fitchburg State University is redeveloping a vacant theater building and adding a black box theater on Main Street. 
  • The City of Fitchburg completed the renovation of its City Hall on Main Street in 2020. 

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