NEW VINEYARD — At a special town meeting Tuesday a vote will be taken on a proposal to fund the Library Association’s surveying and planning for an expansion as well as applying for a grant for the project.

At 6:30 p.m. on May 29 at Smith Hall, voters will get an overview of the Library Association’s plan to apply for an $180,000 Community Development Block Grant.

At 7 p.m., voters will be asked to approve a warrant article to fund the start of planning and design for a new town hall. The $3,000 would pay for initial surveying and drafting of plans.

The library shares space with the Historical Society and Town Office. Its 500 square feet of space limits access to only a few patrons at a time. Bruce Turcotte, a member of the Association, said the building does not have drinkable water or a septic system.

An architect has produced a plan to add a 36-by 44-foot addition, and if the library gets the funding, the association also plans to pave the driveway to improve the building’s limited handicapped access. It also plans to drill a well and install a septic tank, he said.

“We’ll expand to 1,800 square feet and have space for preschoolers and younger children’s activities and public meetings,” Turcotte said. “We’ll have a students’ study area and more space for all our patrons.”

CDBGs require town voters to approve the application, which is the largest part of the proposed $225,000 expansion budget.

“We hope voters will come on Tuesday to give us the support we need,” Turcotte said.

The association will be notified by mid-summer if it the grant is approved. If the library receives the money, it could begin construction and finish the project by late fall.

Nearly two dozen residents met recently to discuss locations and costs, and Dave Fletcher, building committee chairman and meeting facilitator, explained that taxpayers face at least $150,000 in repairs and modifications to Smith Hall to meet state codes and make it handicap accessible.

Selectmen have had an offer of $75,000 for Smith Hall, but citizens asked the committee to explore every option before deciding on a new location. The town owns a 59-acre property on Route 27, approximately two miles north of the town, but several people asked selectmen to locate closer to the town center.

The town’s population has grown 10 percent over the last 10 years, Fletcher said, and town meeting attendance has stretched the building’s capacity to accommodate everyone safely. The building has inadequate storage space and continues to have water problems in the cellar.

The committee urges residents to continue the search for potential locations and willing sellers with four or more acres of suitable property.


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