BY ANGELJEAN CHIARAMIDA
---- — SALISBURY — The Institution for Savings is donating $500,000 to the building fund for Salisbury’s new library, the first of what supporters hope will be a number of pledges for the $7-plus million project.
A member of the Institution for Savings Board of Trustees, Selectman Freeman Condon said the donation is an example of the bank’s solidarity with the Salisbury community.
“I’m very grateful to the bank; we all are,” Condon said. “The Institution for Savings made a commitment to Salisbury early on when it built its branch here. This donation goes along with its mission to make a positive impact on every resident in town.”
With its current 3,000-square-foot library bursting at its seams, Salisbury officials have been hoping to build a larger, more modern library for more than five years. Engaging in resident surveys, growth projections and community needs assessments, the community received two grants to help with planning and design. The work paid off when a state building grant for $3.8 million was received, cutting in half the local cost to build the estimated $7.5 million, 17,000-square-foot library.
Voters overwhelmingly agreed for the town to bond for the remaining funds in two separate votes at the polls and at May Town Meeting. The Salisbury Library Board of Trustees pledged an aggressive fundraising campaign to reduce the amount of money the town needed to borrow to build its dream library.
The first major contribution attempt came about a month after May Town Meeting, Condon said, when Town Manager Neil Harrington and Dianne M. Masiello, chairman of the library’s fundraising committee, sat down with Institution for Savings’ President and CEO Michael J. Jones.
“He was impressed with the project and the committee’s commitment,” Condon said. “He put the project on the agenda for the next bank board of trustees meeting, which took place last Tuesday.”
Yesterday, Jones said he was very impressed.
“For a contribution of this size, the bank has to be very confident that the project will get done, that the budget is sound and have confidence in the funding team,” Jones said. “We were. This is a big project for Salisbury and one that will be a benefit for the community for many generations to come.”
After a presentation to the full board, complete with plans and model, the 18 members of the bank’s board of trustees voted unanimously to approve the donation, Jones said.
“When we opened our Salisbury office in 2006, we pledged to become a true partner with the town of Salisbury and to positively affect the lives of every person, business and organization in this great community,” Jones said. “I can think of few better ways to do that than to help fund this much-needed new library, a place that can be used by virtually every Salisbury resident. We are thrilled to be able to help.”
Masiello expressed her gratitude to the bank, for not only the money, but for the bank’s recognition of the importance of the new library to the residents in town and for “leading the way” by making such a major contribution.
Condon said the Institution for Savings led the way once before on a similar project, when it became a major financial benefactor when Newburyport built its new library.
Condon said all the banks located in Salisbury have been generous to the town when called upon in the past, as have other members of the business community.
“We’re hoping to raise $2 million,” Condon said. “We’re hoping this is just the beginning of what will be a number of substantial pledges for the library.”
The library’s fundraising committee is also putting out collection cans at local businesses for those residents who would like to contribute to the project.