A problem now facing Southington officials is likely a familiar and growing one. Projects approved in brighter financial times are proving more costly and complicated amid inflation and supply chain-related shortages. In this particular case, there’s worry about how the town will build the $17 million public library voters approved at referendum in November.
That approval for the Main Street property was given for a 30,000 square-foot library. How that will happen with the money approved for the purpose is prompting considerations of doing more with less. A significant worry, however, is that if the size of the building is reduced by 10 percent or greater the town could lose $1 million in state funding.
While it’s still early on in the process, it’s still worth pointing out that the state ought not to be suprised by the challenges faced by such projects approved in sunnier financial times and be willing to accept changes that face reality.
“If we provide a library like none other in the state of Connecticut, why wouldn’t they want to give the grant if it’s a few thousand square feet less?” said Republican Town Councilor Jim Morelli.
As the Record-Journal reported, Morelli, who is chairman of the library building committee, said options include reconfiguring space and changing materials used. The town is also not held to the initial design approved at the referendum, and is now working with DRA Architects of South Windsor.
Those involved in plotting the library’s future have a difficult task ahead, but there’s good reason to believe a public library that meets the needs of Southington is still on track.
The town obvously does not want to lose the state funding, but as Town Attorney Mark Sciota pointed out, the town will have the chance to address any concerns the state may have about the changes once the project is presented.
Flexibility is going to play an important role all around.