The Sussex County Commissioners unanimously approved spending more than $6.5 million to renovate and expand the Dennis Library in Newton.
Commissioner Chris Carney abstained as it was his first meeting on the board after replacing former commissioner Josh Hertzberg, who was elected to the Sparta Township Council.
About $3.5 million will be taken from the county’s capital improvement fund-reserve and about $3.1 from grants received or expected from the state of New Jersey.
Administrator Gregory V. Poff II said the expansion will include construction of a new community room, a new children’s room, and improved restrooms. Improvements will be also made to the sidewalk, curbs, and elevators to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The project also calls for improvements to lighting, the HVAC system, and other utilities.
The building was previously owned by the Newton Library Association and will be donated to the county. The county match contribution will be paid for out of the proceeds from the sale of the Homestead nursing home.
The library expansion was overwhelmingly supported by a referendum of county residents. After some public discussion, county officials decided to improve the Dennis branch, which the county does not own, even though it administrates the county library system.
“I believe this is a smart investment for Sussex County, especially with the promise of returns for students, job seekers, and those who love to read and learn,” said Anthony Fasano, deputy director of the Sussex County Commissioners.
“This is a smart investment for Sussex County, especially with the promise of returns for students, job seekers, and those who love to read and learn.” Anthony Fasano, Sussex County Commissioner