Thanks to state cash, West Tisbury Library trims fundraising goal

The West Tisbury Library Foundation Inc. announced Monday that it had reduced its fundraising goal for the library expansion and renovation project from $2 million to $1.5 million, of which nearly $300,000 has been raised or pledged to date.

The reason, library trustee Dan Waters said in a press statement, is that the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant awarded to the West Tisbury Free Public Library was more generous than anticipated.

“It has always been our practice to plan conservatively,” foundation chairman Hunter Moorman said. “When we set our original goal, a year ago, the grant outcome was by no means certain. Now we know we can count on the state for $2.98 million, so it makes sense to realign our goal.”

The town must match the state grant by January 2012 or lose it. “We have our work cut out for us, and we count on every donation,” Mr. Moorman said.

The estimated cost of the project is $6 million. “The understanding all along has been that the town would pay 25 percent of the total cost,” Linda Hearn, chairman of the library trustees, said. “We capped the town’s contribution at $1.5 million, and asked the foundation to pick up whatever the state wasn’t willing to pay. As it happens, the state’s share came in around 50 percent. So the foundation’s part becomes 25 percent, or $1.5 million.”

The library project design is not yet final. Friends of the West Tisbury Library, a separate group that has supported much of the library’s construction in the past, funded the initial architectural design work. “However, the scale of the current project has made necessary a full-scale capital campaign as well as a new group dedicated to raising and managing higher levels of funds,” according to the press release. “The West Tisbury Library Foundation Inc. was founded with this purpose in spring of 2010. The library will ask the town for its $1.5 million share of project costs at town meeting in April of 2012. The design continues to be modified, subject to public comment at building committee meetings and public forums to be held throughout the fall and winter. Groundbreaking is scheduled for spring of 2013.”