Two years after the start of an ambitious fundraising campaign, the Gloversville Public Library is looking to finally break ground on renovations later this year.
The campaign to restore the Carnegie-era library has benefited from the celebrity of hometown author Richard Russo, whose support caught the attention of the New York Times early last year, as well as a strong network of current and former Gloversville residents willing to mobilize.
As of this month, the campaign has met its original goal of about $5.5 million in donations and grants, said library Director Barbara Madonna, but the extended campaign has meant rising costs. The new target is about $7 million.
Just in the past several months, the library celebrated a $1 million donation from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation in October and the awarding of two $500,000 grants in December through the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils.
On Monday, the library got a visit from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as he pledged support in pursuing more than $4 million in potential tax credits for the project.
“He believes in libraries and in the work that we’re doing,” Madonna said. “I think it brought a lot of wonderful attention to not only our project, but library services in general.”
The library will be applying for up to $1.8 million in tax credits through the federal New Market Tax Credit program, which was established to help spur development in low-income communities, as well as both federal and state tax credits for historic renovation totaling up to $2.5 million, Madonna said.
The historic credits would apply strictly to renovation, she said, while the New Market credits could help cover new construction like the addition of an elevator.
“With the New Market and historic tax credits, it’s not money that we need to grant-write for, we don’t need to try to raise it locally, so that’s why it’s important to this project,” she said.
The library predicts that the overhaul could double the roughly 100,000 annual visitors it gets currently. The work would provide elevator access to all three floors, expand youth space, add meeting rooms, improve parking and safety, update the heating and cooling system and install new energy-efficient windows.
The library was built in 1904 with a $50,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie and has been updated only sporadically since.
Construction is expected to take about 18 months. In the meantime, the library will be completely closed and will take up residence in a temporary location — which is another source of unknown cost, Madonna said.
With the clock ticking on the grants the library has received, Madonna said they need to be “out of the building, shovel in the ground” by this fall.
Reach Gazette reporter Kyle Adams at 723-0811, [email protected] or @kyleradams on Twitter.