City of Fitchburg announces next phase of Main Street redevelopment with renovation, expansion of Fitchburg Public Library

The City of Fitchburg announces the Fitchburg Public Library will complete a robust renovation and expansion in a continuation of the next phase of the city’s redevelopment of the Main Street corridor. 

The project is expected to begin later this year and will serve the city in new and traditional ways by providing a more flexible, welcoming, and sustainable facility for people to build a sense of community. 

“The Fitchburg Public Library is the centerpiece of Main Street providing free enrichment to our residents for generations,” said Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale. “This project is ambitious and essential to the future of our city as a learning and innovation hub while drawing people downtown and providing economic, social, and cultural benefits to enhance the quality of life for all in the city.” 

“Public libraries are recognized as the most trusted of institutions and are a key resource for enabling people to work and learn more efficiently while narrowing the digital divide by providing essential computer and electronic resources,” said Fitchburg Public Library Executive Director Deborah Hinkle. “The renovations and expansion will create an environment where programming for children, teens, and adults can take place simultaneously in a bright, comfortable, and safe space.” 

The project will encompass two major changes, including the renovation of the existing Wallace Building, which was first built in 1967, and the creation of an entirely new and enlarged Youth Library and meeting room wing. The library will offer a Teen Room, a new Community Room to replace the current auditorium, several smaller meeting rooms, a Learning Lab, a Makerspace, improved access to the library collections, various seating areas throughout the building to study and engage, and more accessible, improved parking. 

Funding for the $40 million project will be provided through a variety of funds, including a $12.5 million total grant award from the Massachusetts Board of License Commissioners (MBLC) through the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program. Additional funding will come from a combination of the City of Fitchburg’s American Rescue Plan Act funding, which will provide $12 million, and the City of Fitchburg will provide $12 million as part of the city’s capital budget of which the library is included. The final $3.5 million will be provided via an upcoming capital campaign