Cape Elizabeth to hire consultant to measure support for library plan

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CAPE ELIZABETH — By the end of the year, and with information gathered by a fundraising consultant, the Town Council will decide whether to schedule a referendum in November 2012 on a new Thomas Memorial Library.

At a workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 6, councilors decided to move forward with a plan to approve $30,000 to hire Demont Associates of Portland to gauge the project’s fundraising potential.

According to Town Manager Mike McGovern, the fundraising consultant will  investigate the library’s design and program needs and begin a fundraising study to identify leadership for a fundraising campaign.

He said about $50,000 of the town budget has been set aside for design work and consultant fees.

Vetted by a committee of Thomas Memorial Trustees and representatives of the Thomas Memorial Library Foundation, Demont Associates will meet with about 50 to 70 people between now and early next year to discuss plans for the library.

McGovern said the consulting firm is expected to provide a report on the potential for a successful fundraising campaign to raise a portion of the cost of the library. When the council has that information, he said it will be the time to discuss next steps, including the prospect of a referendum vote.

“The referendum would be on the same date as the presidential election,” McGovern said. “The timing seems to fit since a greater majority of the public will be out for a vote like that.”

The council also asked for a time line of action between now and the November 2012 referendum, he said.

“I’m pleased what we’ve put out in the past month,” McGovern said. “We are relaying the information we have in the newspapers and online and we are  beginning to engage the public.”

Councilor Sara Lennon said public outreach is one of the most important aspects of the project. She said the council recognizes the importance of feedback and welcomes “any and all” comments.

“We need to find out what the public thinks before we go any further,” she said Wednesday. “Personally, I think it’s necessary and appropriate to take this next step. Demont Associates will go a good job taking the temperature of the community and will provide us with honest and helpful feedback.”

The council will meet Monday, Sept. 12, for a regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Council Chambers.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson

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