RUMFORD — Plans are back on hold.

The Library Growth Committee learned
that the federal stimulus money they thought might pay for moving the
existing structure, then adding on to it, isn’t there.

Library Director, Karl Aromaa, and the
committee were very disappointed.

“We were so excited in April. We were
shovel-ready, the plans are drawn up,” he said Monday afternoon.

For more than two months, the committee
that has been working to expand and relocate the current
1903 facility and add onto it thought they had
finally found a way to complete the project.

The American Library Association had
notified the Rumford Public Library in April that the state would
receive $35 million for library and school projects. But hopes were
dashed, Aromaa said, when he was notified that the money would be
used by the state to offset a budgetary shortfall.

The latest plan called for moving the
original 3,000-square-foot Carnegie Library building to the site of
the former Stephens High School on Penobscot Street. The later
addition would be demolished, and the current library site located
next to the Androscoggin River could be made into a park.

At the Penobscot Street location, a
7,000-square-foot, one-story addition would be built with the
existing library serving as an entrance. The project was estimated by
the Library Growth Committee’s engineering firm, Scott Simon
Architects of Portland, to cost about $3.2 million.

Aromaa said the committee will update
selectmen on the latest plan sometime next month. But he said the
matter may be a moot point right now because of the lack of funds for
any kind of action.

“It was a real stimulating couple of
months,” he said about the possibility of receiving federal funds.

For now, the committee will take a wait-and-see attitude.

Aromaa said now is not the time to
launch a capital campaign because of the poor economy, and nothing
is currently in the works to apply for any possible grants.

Although the Library Growth Committee
believes a new, more easily accessible library is necessary because
of the growth in users and technology, some in the area have
disagreed with making such changes.

They have said that the population has
decreased, therefore negating the need for a larger facility, and that
the current building is historical and that the area can’t
support a new library because of the poor economic outlook.

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