News & Events

Groundbreaking Ceremony Video

Published on Apr 30, 2012 by Progressindex

Hundreds gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Petersburg
Public Library. Topping the guest list were Sen. Mark Warner and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott.

Cameron Foundation provides $1 million toward new Petersburg library

The Cameron Foundation donated $1 million to the Petersburg Library Foundation during a ceremony Tuesday at the Tabernacle Community Life Center. From left are: Wayne Crocker, director of Petersburg Public Libraries; Bob Walker, chairman of the library foundation; Cindy Morgan, capital campaign co-chair for the library foundation; Ann Taylor, immediate past chair of the Cameron Foundation; and Handy Lindsey, president of the Cameron Foundation.

A new Petersburg Public Library took another step closer to reality Tuesday with a $1 million contribution from The Cameron Foundation.

“The whole point of this donation is to catalyze the rest of the community into giving to the capital campaign,” said Handy Lindsey Jr., president of The Cameron Foundation. “It demonstrates that we believe in this project and we’re so close to completion we really need the rest of the community to step forward.”

The grant funding for the Petersburg Library Foundation will be made upon completion of the new building. The facility will have expanded programs, literacy training classes and computer classes.

Currently, the Petersburg Library Foundation is at 79 percent of its $12.7 million fundraising goal.

“This gets us $2.6 million closer to our overall goal, so we’re now very close,” said Wayne Crocker, chief librarian for the city. “This will allow us to begin Phase I of the project.”

Groundbreaking is scheduled to take place April 30 for the state-of-the-art library in downtown.

Lindsey said that this isn’t the first time The Cameron Foundation has supported the Petersburg Library Foundation. He said that support has been given directly for the project along with providing assistance through a “capacity building” grant that allowed the Petersburg Library Foundation to develop ways to raise money more effectively.

Previously, The Cameron Foundation also committed a $1 million grant to the construction of a new library. With both contributions, The Cameron Foundation is the second largest contributor in the Petersburg Library Foundation’s history.

Bob Walker, president of the Petersburg Library Foundation, said that the two groups have worked closely together since the inception of the foundation working to build a new library in the city. “They’ve been extremely generous in their past presentations and this project is important to the community,” Walker said.

Lindsey said that the project and the library is extremely important for the community because of what a library is – a free space for all residents. “It’s the one place where we are all equal,” Lindsey said.

When complete, the new library will be nearly four times that of the existing 14,000-square-foot main library that has served the community for more than 85 years. It will feature specialized spaces and services to attract and engage patrons.

Crocker said that even as construction on Phase I – estimated to take 12 to 18 months – is taking place, fundraising will continue for the second phase of construction.

The site of the new library, the former Petersburg Ford and more recently CrossRoads Ford, was purchased for $400,000 in 2006. The site was selected after it became available – six other sites had been considered before the selection of the current site on the corner of Washington and Market streets.

Originally conceptualized as a 56,000-square-foot facility with a price tag of around $16 million, fundraising efforts began in earnest after the design was finalized in 2008. Initially, plans called for repurposing several of the existing buildings on the property. However, it was decided that for roughly the same price a new library could be constructed from the ground up.

Demolition on the former auto dealership buildings began in September 2009.

The current Phase I facility will be around 45,000 square feet and represents the majority of that initial concept with the exception of the large multipurpose meeting room. Phase II would add space for an auditorium.

In September 2008, City Council committed to providing $5 million toward construction costs, and at the Feb. 28, 2012, meeting, council kept its word, voting 6-0 – Mayor Brian Moore abstaining as he is a member of the library foundation board – to provide that money in the form of bond money.

Progress-Index – F.M. Wiggins (staff writer)

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