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New Ridgefield Library, Theater Plans Go Forward

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – After two years of planning, the Ridgefield Library and the Prospector Theater have gotten the go-ahead from the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Members voted unanimously during a Tuesday evening commission meeting to approve the plans for both the library and theater. That means the library will close within the next six weeks to start construction.

The $20 million project to revamp the library is partially funded by the town, which is investing $5 million. The rest must be raised through private donations. At the start of June, the library had raised $14.2 million of the $15 million needed.

For Chris Nolan, the library’s executive director, the commission approval came as a great relief. “It’s a great thing to have this behind us,” she said.

The approval also makes it much easier to settle the rest of the pieces. It also means the sale of the building next door, 25 Prospect St. that the library owns, can go through. The money from that building makes up a large portion of the $14.2 million.

The library will increase from 25,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet while maintaining the historic 1903 Morris Library building on Main Street. The construction is expected to take 16 to 18 months.

The library still needs to find a temporary location. “We don’t have a signed lease yet,” Nolan said. A lease with the old Hay Day building on Governor Street is in consideration, but nothing has been set in stone. “We’re eager to have that concluded and know exactly where we’re going.”

As for the project at Prospect Street, Valerie Jensen can now begin transforming the old playhouse into a three-screen movie theater and restoring the original facade.

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