Lynn Public Library Receives Large Donation

A generous donor has provided a gift of nearly $600,000 to the Lynn Public Library.

Burton Green of Lynn established the Burton E. Green Trust in 1971 and named his sister, Cora A. Jordan, as the beneficiary, according to the document provided to The Journal. 

But the former U.S Army staff sergeant, who served as a weather observer in the Aleutian Islands during World War II, amended the trust in 1999. Upon his sister’s death, the remaining proceeds shall be for the “exclusive use and benefit of the Lynn Public Library.”

Green, 88, died in 2009 of pneumonia and Parkinson’s Disease. His sister, of Providence, R.I., died last summer. 

Library Director Theresa Hurley declined multiple requests for comment. But in a letter to City Hall officials following Jordan’s death, Hurley said it appears the library and its trustees were unaware of the trust’s existence. 

She wrote Green was a World War II veteran and the family has an American flag from his funeral in their possession.  

“Robert Jordan, Cora’s son, would like to donate the flag along with a picture of Mr. Green so the library can display it in his honor,” Hurley wrote.

The market value of the trust is $587,148, according to the last statement Hurley received.

While the decision on how the money will be spent is up to the 11-member Board of Trustees, Michael Donovan, director of the city’s Inspectional Services Department, said he has a few ideas. 

The 120-year-old building needs a number of major capital improvements. 

“If it were up to me, the first thing I would do is install a fire alarm system at a cost of $250,000,” he said. “A building elevator would be nice, but that would be unreasonably expensive and cost more than $600,000.”  

The other potential projects for the National Register of Historic Places site include a $200,000 paint job, and a $47,000 lighting upgrade, Donovan added.

Windows on the library’s Franklin and North Common street sides were restored more than 30 years ago. The other two sides, which contain about 40 windows, need to be done for $2,000 each or $80,000 in total, he said.

The last major renovations were completed in 2010 when the library’s handicapped ramp was installed at the Franklin Street entrance, the front steps were redone, and the first floor was painted. Five years ago, the first floor electrical service was replaced. 

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