Lewes Seeks Public Input on $1 Million Library Grant - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lewes Seeks Public Input on $1 Million Library Grant

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Lewes Library building exterior render (Courtesy: Lewes Public Library) Lewes Library building exterior render (Courtesy: Lewes Public Library)
LEWES, Del.- The city of Lewes held a public meeting Wednesday evening to discuss giving the Lewes Public Library $1 million for the new library.
The land has been purchased and the ground has been broken, but the library is still raising $5 million out of $10.9 million for the total project. The fundraising group, Friends of the Lewes Public Library, has requested help from the city.

Candace Vessella is the president. She said the money will help the library keep up with the times. 

"The library of Lewes today and the library of the future is an opportunity for people to take classes, to get other media and other information," she said. "It's really a terrific opportunity to use facilities that are not available anywhere else in the city of Lewes."

Councilman Fred Beaufait is the chair of the Library Committee formed by the city to make a recommendation regarding this potential grant.

"Keep in mind, the city has already invested a million dollars in the new library and that we helped purchase the land," he explained. "Now they've come and ask for another million, that's asking a lot of the city."

Beaufait said a couple of options to help the city with funding include making a small library fee or selling city property, two things that many have already spoken out about. 

"All of these things tied together, it's not just the simple question of does the city make a contribution to the new library," Beaufait said. "Certainly we would like to be able to but can we? Can we afford it? And keep in mind that it is the citizens of Lewes that are paying for it indirectly."

Vessella said that she is confident those in favor will rise to the occasion.

"We're hoping that the folks inside the city of Lewes who will greatly benefit from this new library will endorse the idea that the city provide roughly ten percent of the budget of the building for the new library," she explained.

After Wednesday's public meeting, the committee will meet Thursday morning to come up with a recommendation to present to the city council in three weeks.
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