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GOSHEN — Plans for a major roof replacement project and elevator modernization at the Goshen Public Library got the green light from Goshen City Council members during their meeting Tuesday evening.

At the meeting, council members approved a request by Ann-Margaret Rice, director of the Goshen Public Library, seeking approval by the council for an additional appropriation from the Library Improvement Reserve Fund and Rainy Day Fund totaling $450,000.

According to Rice, the purpose of the additional appropriation is to further support the complete replacement of the library roof structure and to modernize the library’s aging elevator system.

“Goshen Public Library was last renovated with an addition to our building in the mid-1990s. We’ve since learned that some of the work done at that time left us exposed for problems to develop in the years that followed. This was particularly true in the case of our roof and in the area of the addition,” Rice told the council. “It should also be noted that previous directors took a very conservative fiscal approach to building maintenance and repairs. As a result, our needs today are many and we have recently been working our way through several major repairs and improvements including major work on our attic sprinkler system, adding ceiling structural support, renovating our children’s room and our auditorium meeting space, updating some lighting to LED, etc.”

Rice noted that she feels replacement of the library’s roof is a long overdue project, as the library has suffered many leaks over the last few years.

“The sealed bids we received for this public works project were all well beyond the dollar amounts we could appropriate for this year, yet we did not feel we could extend the life of our roof beyond 2020,” Rice added of the situation. “The bid we accepted from Morris and Sons was the low bid at just over $677,000. Once accepted, we set out to explore the necessary processes for seeking an additional appropriation to our 2020 budget.”

Speaking to the library’s aging elevator, Rice noted the elevator is original to the building and has had problems off and on for a number of years.

“During 2019, we had several service calls following incidents where staff and patrons were stuck in the elevator. Gratefully, we’ve always been able to get the car moving again to let them out,” Rice said. “Our elevator, due to age, is overdue for an elevator modernization. Prior to the roof bids, we had hoped to also complete this project in 2020, fearing a complete shutdown of our elevator soon.

“A shutdown, of course, would leave us out of ADA compliance,” Rice added of the situation. “Once we learned we would have to seek the additional appropriation for our roof project, the library board determined that the elevator project must be included in the request also, feeling it was a top safety priority. While we have not yet gone out for bid on the elevator modernization project, initial estimates from elevator companies and contractors are nearing $150,000.”

After hearing Rice’s explanation regarding the roof and elevator projects, the council’s members voted unanimously in favor of approving the requested additional appropriation, $300,000 of which will come from the Library Improvement Reserve Fund, and $150,000 from the library’s Rainy Day Fund.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, board members:

• Voted to appoint Scott Woldruff, Dave Pottinger and Jonathan Wieand to the Goshen Downtown Economic Improvement District Board for the term of June 1, 2020, through May 31, 2022.

John Kline can be reached at john.kline@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN.

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