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New library design, budget pass at Town MeetingFrom Newburyport Daily News, May 18, 2010
By Angeljean Chiaramida
SALISBURY — Town Meeting last night approved a design for a larger library, a right-to-farm bylaw with a new agricultural commission, two new zones allowing solar and wind energy-generating activity and a budget for the coming year.
It took longer for moderator Ron Ray to read the article that requested approval for an $18,467,332 budget for the coming year than it took for Town Meeting to approve it, a stamp of approval that Town Manager Neil Harrington found gratifying.
But the 251 voters who packed Salisbury Elementary School cafeteria chewed over the 17,000-square-foot proposed design to enlarge the town's current 3,000-square-foot library for half an hour before overwhelmingly giving it the nod of approval.
Some took the floor to advise not to approve the new design, which will build a new, two-story library at its present location on Salisbury Square to meet the needs of the community for the next two decades.
A few didn't want to tear down the present library but wanted to incorporate the building into the new one, something officials said wasn't possible.
Others thought the design too big, and that no matter how much money in grants the town received to build it, running such a large facility would be beyond the town's means once it's built. Others suggested Salisbury residents should simply continue to use the larger, more modern libraries in other communities to meet its library needs.
Selectman Ed Hunt said technology could soon make libraries obsolete, his reason for not favoring spending the money to build and staff a larger building to house new books, programs and more and newer computers.
Although many others spoke in favor of the proposals, it was two of the youngest voters at Town Meeting who turned the tide and won the day.
Twenty-one-year-old Joseph Stucker told Town Meeting the youth of the town need a better library to enhance their education, a resource required for future generations.
"I remember going to story hour at that library," said Stucker, a Triton graduate and now a student at Boston University studying mass communication. "I've pretty much lived at that library my whole life. Twenty-five years ago, we tried to expand it and didn't. To say we should mooch off another town's (library) is inexcusable."
And Eric Morris, 19, explained the library needed more and better computers for residents and for students to use in their school and college work. Some newer books won't hurt either, he added.
"I'd gotten 'Animal House' out of the library recently," he said. "The book had to be about (60 years old)."
The approval won last night, in addition to the approval of the article allowing the solicitation of grant money to build it, isn't the final word on building the library, Selectman Henry Richenburg said. The question to allocate town funds to build is yet to come, and Town Meeting will have the final word at that time, he said.
Town Meeting also indefinitely postponed two articles, both of which were citizen's petitions.
After Town Counsel Tom McEnaney told voters the attorney general would reject as unlawful and unenforceable an article proposed by Mitchell Makarewicz to remove policy-making and fee-setting authority from town boards and commissions, voters made quick work of dismissing the question. McEnaney said the article as written was contrary to state laws and was seriously flawed.
Article 21, which would have expanded the Beach Commercial Zone, was also indefinitely postponed when its primary petitioner, Ernest Sofia Jr., failed to make the motion bringing it up for consideration.
Town Meeting also approved all 11 articles of the Special Town Meeting Warrant, which allocated cash transfers from one town account to another to purchase needed equipment, fund overages in the insurance and veterans benefits accounts, repair sidewalks and reinstitute raises that were cut from some town employees last year because of shrinking revenues.
Library Expansion Update: May 2009
Ben Laing/Staff photo
The Salisbury Public Library received a $40,000 grant to look into expanding. Reprint Permission by The Newburyport News
In June 2007, the Salisbury Public Library was awarded a $40,000.00 Planning and Design Grant from the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners with matching funds ($20,000.00) voted on at Fall 2007 town meeting.
The Library Vision Committee began meeting in January 2008. Their purpose was three-fold. First, to examine the existing library, its collections, programs and services-to essentially provide a snapshot of the Salisbury Public Library as it exists today. Second, to determine future needs based on a twenty year population projection and anticipate future holdings, collections and services required, and finally to prepare a written building program summarizing their findings and outlining specifics for each area of the new library
The Executive Summary is a brief overview of the committee’s findings. The complete building program is available at the library for public review.
Click here to view or print the library expansion design brochure that the Vision Committee released in May 2009.
Some of the central objectives for the new design:
- Keep the location on the town green as “the Heart of the Community” and centerpiece of the Village Historic District and to be architecturally compatible in style and scale to its neighbors
- Minimize the impact on the green in terms of reduced site coverage, respect for existing monuments and trees.
- Provide sufficient and safe vehicular, pedestrian and handicapped access and parking.
- Provide increased capacity and services for every segment of the population and to provide “information/education/recreation” for the whole community.
- To be conscious of the town’s budget constraints, both in initial expense and on-going operational and maintenance costs.