Carol M. Johnson: Jones project will serve everyone

Thursday, October 21, 2021

I care deeply about sustaining Amherst as an affordable community that will serve people of all ages, income levels and backgrounds.

That is why I will be voting “Yes” for the Jones Library project on Nov 2.

Amherst’s library is needed by many constituencies, including young children, teens, families, immigrants, ESL learners, and folks who do not have their own computer at home. But to properly serve our community, the physical facility must be updated.

The project will fill programming gaps, resolve serious maintenance and safety concerns, and address 21st century issues such as making the facility accessible to all citizens and reducing energy use.

Fundraising plans are sensible, calling upon diverse sources such as grants, borrowing by the town, Community Preservation Act funds, tax credits and gifts from the community. The project has qualified for a $13.8 million provisional grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The Amherst Town Council approved the library’s plan by appropriating the town’s $15.8 million share of the cost. And fundraising initiatives have made a good start, already securing $1 million in CPA funds, and pledges of another $1.2 million from the community toward the $6.6 million balance of the cost of the project.

Carol M. Johnson