Hartford Foundation Grant Supports Project to Improve Access to Suffield Library

Construction is expected to begin this summer on a handicapped-accessible addition to the Kent Memorial Library in Suffield, thanks, in part, to a $200,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

The improvements will make the library, built in 1971, compliant with standards for a historic building under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The library, designed by noted architect Warren Platner, is considered an important example of modern architecture.

The addition will permit patrons to enter at street level adjacent to existing parking, allowing them the option of using the stairs or an elevator to the circulation desk, as well as handicapped-accessible bathrooms, according to Patrick McMahon, the town's director of economic and community development.

 “With a population currently consisting of almost 12 percent disabled residents and almost 18 percent seniors aged 62 and above, and with those numbers projected to increase, it is wise to retrofit the library to accommodate this segment of the population,” said McMahon.

“We are so thankful for the grant from the Hartford Foundation for this very important project,” said McMahon.

Additional funding for the $1.4 million project comes from the Town of Suffield, the Suffield Library Commission, the Connecticut Historic Restoration Fund and private donations.

The library annually circulates more than 122,000 items – a little more than 10 items per capita – and last year hosted more than 600 meetings and programs attended by approximately 6,500 residents.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford region, dedicated to improving the quality of life for area residents. It receives gifts from thousands of generous individuals, families and organizations, and awards grants to a broad range of area nonprofit organizations. For more information, go to www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.