Mayor hints at library renovation

By Rebeca Oliveira and Peter Shanley, Gazette Staff

Mayor Thomas Menino dropped a tantalizing hint about the future of the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library (BPL) at a sit-down lunch with city reporters on May 25.

“We’ve had some internal conversations…I don’t want to drop the ball now because I haven’t talked to the Friends yet. I want to discuss it with them first,” Menino said last month.

“We have not heard from the mayor yet and we won’t be commenting until we do. We hope that will be soon,” Friends of the JP Branch Library co-chair Gretchen Grozier told the Gazette in an email.

The Friends have been fighting for a $8.5 million renovation to the building at 12 Sedgwick St. since 2006, but they must wait until the City allocates those funds to BPL’s capital budget. The BPL trustees voted in March to only request $125,000 for “improvements” to the branch instead.

The mayor and BPL pulled the plug on the plan in 2006 amid a dispute over its scale. Former City Councilor John Tobin got it back on the city’s budget, where it has remained since.

“There was a plan put together several years ago,” Menino said last month. “It was expensive. It wasn’t sound. I don’t think it was realistic at the time…I think there are some creative ideas you can have for that place.”

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