By MADDY VITALE
A renovation project that would improve and update the second floor of the Ocean City Free Public Library has been on hold for a couple of years, while officials seek grant money to help fund the project.
The city had already bonded for the project to renovate, update and expand the library’s second floor and it will be done with or without the grants, officials have emphasized.
However, grant money could help fund the library’s estimated $1.3 million renovation.
The first grant proposal submitted by the city through the Library Bond Construction Act was not approved back in December of 2020.
But both library officials and the city are hopeful the second application submitted this past week will prove fruitful. Rachel Ballezzi, of the city’s engineering department, resubmitted the grant proposal to the state library.
“We are very happy and excited to announce that we have submitted, with the assistance of the city team members, especially Rachel Ballezzi, the application for the second round of the Library Construction Bond Act (LCBA) Grant,” Library Director Karen Mahar said in a statement Saturday.
She continued, “The LCBA is funded by the New Jersey State Library. It is a matching grant and if awarded, these funds will be used for the second floor library renovation project.”
City Council approved a resolution Thursday night to authorize “the application for a New Jersey State Library Construction Bond Act grant for the Ocean City Free Public Library.”
The plan is to upgrade the library’s lighting, expand the “Young Adults” section and add new furnishings to the second floor.
The building is over 30 years old. Here is a link to the project’s rendering: https://ocnjdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/library-renovation-rendering-2.pdf
Back in December 2020, Mahar announced that the “first round of the Library Bond Construction Act grant awardees came out and we were not on the list.”
Then in April 2021, Mahar explained during an OCFPL Board of Trustees meeting that, with the assistance of the city, they would resubmit an application for a grant.
To learn more about the Ocean City Free Public Library, visit www.oceancitylibrary.org