The coronavirus pandemic has had a way of making anything that took place before March look like ancient history, so it can be hard to believe that it was a year ago that Meriden’s City Council approved renovations to the Meriden Public Library at a cost of $7.8 million.
At the time we had hoped the council would see its way toward approving a $9.3 million plan, which would have set the library up for the future, something Meriden could have used considering the Miller Street library hadn’t seen a major renovation since it opened in 1973.
As it turned out, there were not enough councilors to support that vision, and the $7.8 million plan that was approved at least took care of necessities, like maintenance and code compliance needs. It also allows for expansion of the children’s, teens and multipurpose areas.
In other words, even though it wasn’t ideal it was something worth supporting, and now it’s worth celebrating the $1 million in funding approved last week by the state Bond Commission. That funding was deemed essential. The City Council’s approval hinged on the funding to help offset costs.
So it’s no wonder library officials are pleased. “Now we just have to wait until whatever paperwork needs to be done and then bids will have to go out to construction companies,” said Joan Edgerly, chairwoman of the library board of director.
The library now has a project that’s moving forward, along with a new director, Clevell S. Roseboro II.
One question that remains is when the library, which has been closed to the public since March, will reopen. It’s one of the many uncertainties that have arrived along with the pandemic and the concerns over keeping people as safe as possible.
But the funding is an important step, and the vision of a library under renovation a positive one at a time when we can use all the positives we can get. A well-functioning public library is a sign of a community’s health.