Haverhill Public Library plans to spend $10 million on update, renovation and expansion

Click on the image for the Haverhill Town Council agenda.

Haverhill Public Library plans to spend $10 million on “upgrading, renovation and expansion” as it takes possession of its third floor in the city.

City councilors are expected to sign an order tonight declaring the nearly 9,000 square foot condo surplus. The action clears the way for the condo to be sold for $1 to the trustees of the Haverhill Public Library.

“We believe that the scope of our investment and the benefits to the town and residents of Haverhill are significant contributions and that no further cash consideration is necessary to justify the sale of the condominium unit to the administrators of the library,” the admin vice president wrote. Richard J. Sheehan Jr. in the library offering.

Unlike most public libraries, Haverhill Public Library’s independent trustees have always owned the central building, while the town is obligated to maintain the structure and pay the staff. It is an arrangement devised in 1873 by philanthropist Ezekiel James Madison Hale. Hale donated the land and half the money to build and furnish it.

An exception was made in 1997 when then-Mayor James A. Rurak agreed to the city’s $1.2 million purchase of the top-floor condo after private donations fell short. A city investment was also a requirement for an $800,000 state grant, trustee Deborah Y. Coletti previously told WHAV. She also noted that the library has helped pay for city loans over the years.

The capital project expanded the Main Street building from 30,500 to 44,000 square feet. As Mayor, Rurak served as non-voting Chairman of the Library Trustees and is now a voting member.

Sheehan added: “We are fortunate to have the resources to invest more in the library and enable all Haverhills, current and future generations, to enjoy the benefits of a beautiful modernized library. He explained that administrators were meeting with architects and planners and would present plans to the city in the near future.

The Haverhill City Council meets tonight at 7 a.m. remotely and in person in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers, Room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St., as a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to host the meeting live.

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