Ken Rosenthal: Time to change direction on Jones Library

Matt Moloney via StockSnap

Published: 05-10-2024 9:23 PM

The Jones Library in Amherst received only one contractor’s bid for its long-planned renovation and expansion. When supplemental costs are added, that brings the estimated total project cost to at least $54 million. What seemed expensive before is now simply unaffordable.

The current plan was developed years ago and calls for the replacement of the 1993 addition and a major renovation throughout. The leadership of the library and Town Council must recognize that this cannot be achieved.

There is a way forward to a renewed Jones Library that will meet the future needs of Amherst residents. The repair and renovation proposal of Anna Popp, already in the file drawer of the library director, is the place to begin.

Some say that to start over will mean that the pledges of prospective donors will all be lost. My many years of nonprofit management have taught me that donors want what’s best for the project they support. I predict that when they understand what can be achieved, they will complete their gifts. And once the public sees a smart renovation that can actually be built, there will be even more donations.

It won’t be easy for the leadership to accept that they have chosen the wrong way forward. Once they do, they can choose the right road and give Amherst an improved Jones Library that will serve us well for decades.

Ken Rosenthal


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