Announcement at Smith Hill Library. Photo from Mayor Taveras’ Facebook page.
At a press conference this morning on Smith Hill, the Taveras Administration announced an agreement which will allow the Providence Community Library (PCL) to gain control of their branch library buildings and initiate much needed renovations of the buildings. The announcement ends a dispute between the PCL, the Providence Public Library (PPL), which maintains the main library on Empire Street, and the City of Providence.
The dispute had left employees at PCL uncertain about their future, community members uncertain about the continued operation of thier neighborhood libraries, and PCL unable to acquire loans or grants to fix and maintain their buidlings.
Taveras Administration Reaches Agreement to Save Libraries
City will lease neighborhood branches for 20 years under mediated settlement
PROVIDENCE, RI – The administration of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has reached an agreement with the two independent organizations that operate the libraries that serve city residents that will preserve city branches and protect every neighborhood library in the city.
Under the agreement mediated by retired Superior Court Judge Mark Pfeiffer, the Providence Public Library (PPL), which operates the downtown library and owns seven of the city’s nine neighborhood library buildings, will transfer the seven buildings to the City as a 20 year lease-purchase, at the end of which the City will own the buildings outright.
The City will make an initial payment of $250,000 to PPL from funds held in escrow during the dispute over the future of the libraries. Additionally, the City will make 18 annual payments to PPL in the amount of $264,000, beginning in 2014. The total cost of acquiring the seven neighborhood libraries will be $5 million. The assessed value of the seven buildings is approximately $11 million.