Springfield, Mass., Library Stays Put with Lawsuit Settlement
Springfield, Mass., Library Stays Put with Lawsuit SettlementEnding a court battle that lasted nearly two years, the mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, and the president of the city’s Museums Association signed an agreement February 27 that eliminates the threat that the Central Library will be evicted from the site it has occupied since 1912.
The association owns and operates four museums on the downtown Quadrangle and owns the Central Library and four of the nine branches, which have been run by the city since its council voted to take control of the system in 2003. In 2005 the city sued the association, charging that it had illegally sold the Mason Square branch to the Urban League of Springfield two years earlier. The city dropped the suit in December and announced it would build a new branch in the neighborhood with the help of a negotiated $333,334 contribution from the association, the Springfield Republican reported February 28.
Under the agreement, the city will lease the Central Library for $1 a year; the initial lease signed in 2003 had called for the library to vacate the building in three years. The association will also transfer its ownership of four branch libraries to the city, subject to approval by the state legislature.
The city and the association also agreed that $8.4 million in endowments and trust funds belong to the city; another $2.7 million in disputed trusts will be mediated to determine the intent of the donors. The agreement also gives city residents free admission to the Quadrangle museums.
Library Commission Chair Patrick Markey said the commission was “absolutely delighted” with the settlement. “We are most gratified by the fact that the city will end up with actual title and real ownership of the four branch libraries,” he stated.
Posted March 2, 2007.