Voice Your Concern for the New Library Project
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Board of Selectmen,
The proposed new library is a hot topic leading up to Town Meeting. We are writing you to let you know we support the library, we support the programs the library offers, and we support improving the library, whether it be enhancing ADA compliance or renovations within the current footprint. However, we don’t support a new building at a cost to the town of approximately $7M. We don't believe supporting the library should be predicated on supporting the building of a new, 23,000 sq. ft. facility.
Proponents of the new library have been saying "we have nothing to lose" by approving the upcoming article at Town Meeting. We disagree with that premise. If we proceed with the grant application, what we lose is the ability to forecast our town finances for the foreseeable future. If, as the library architect predicts, we fall in the middle tier of communities awarded grant money, we could be waiting years to receive the grant money (some communities awarded money during the last grant cycle are still waiting). This will cloud the vision of our town finance team as the impact of other potential projects begin to be discussed. In the near future, we need to figure out how to better support our growing senior population. With the ongoing development in our town, our student population will inevitably rise; How will we address that on top of funding full-day Kindergarten? Will we lose the ability to acquire open space as it becomes available in order to control growth? These issues can all be solved. The question is, how can we discuss the financial implications the solutions will have on our town if we have a $7M project looming in the background?
To be clear, we respect the citizens in town who are petitioning you to move this grant process forward. That is their opinion, and they have every right to voice it. Our intent on sending this letter isn’t to create an ‘us versus them’ dynamic. Our intent is to let you know that there are many people in our community who support our library and understand it’s value, but at the same time, do not support building a new library. We look forward to voting on this issue at Town Meeting.
Thank you very much for your time.
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