FUMO PRESENTS $2
MILLION GRANT FOR CENTRAL LIBRARY RENOVATION
PHILADELPHIA, June 15, 2007
– The Free Library of Philadelphia took a major step toward renovation of its
Central Library facility today when State Senator Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia)
presented a $2 million state grant for the project.
Fumo joined Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the
announcement at Citizens Bank Park. The Free Library revealed yesterday that
Rollins will be the spokesman for its Central Library Project.
The Library has upgraded each of its 54 buildings
throughout the city in recent years, except the main branch on the Ben Franklin
Parkway. It is currently raising funds for that renovation. An anonymous donor
has pledged $15 million in a challenge grant, if the Library can raise $15
million in matching funds.
“I’m excited about the plans to renovate the existing
building and add a 180,000 foot addition designed by the world famous architect
Moshe Safdie,” Fumo said. “I have 13 libraries in my district and I am well
aware of the many programs for pre-school children, school age children, small
business owners and new immigrants to our city, which the library provides for
free to everyone.”
Fumo, whose senatorial district includes the Central
Library on the Parkway, arranged for the state budget grant, with the money to
be drawn from the Department of Community and Economic Development fund for
Cultural Exhibitions and Expositions.
Fumo presented a check to Library Board members Jerry
Clothier, CFO of the Phillies, Ron Wilson, president of Philly Coke, and Linda
Johnson, CEO of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation.
“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of
Philadelphia have been enormously generous; and with our anonymous $15 million
challenge gift and the support of the Senator, we will be ready to break ground
next year,” Johnson said.
Fumo and Rollins both pointed out that libraries can be
an effective anti-violence tool. Libraries provide a safe place where children
can be productively occupied and receive positive influence. Plus, studies have
shown a correlation between how well children read and how likely they are to
avoid involvement in violent crime later in life.
“I was especially pleased to hear that the Central
Library on the Parkway will have a new children’s library, double in size, and a
first-time-ever space for teens. Keeping our children safe and off the streets
is crucial, and libraries provide a safe haven in every community in our city,”
Rollins, who for six years has supported a program
called JRoll’s Readers Club to improve the reading skills of Philadelphia’s
youth, presented Fumo with a replica of his number 11 uniform jersey in
appreciation of the Senator’s efforts.
“Libraries play a most important role in our
communities, now more than ever,” Rollins said.
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