Support your town library
To the Editor:
As voting day approaches, the Board of Trustees would like to encourage all Milford voters to support the building project for the Wadleigh Memorial Library. The town’s Capital Improvement Committee has postponed funding this project for the past 14 years. Structural repairs and space needs that were identified 14 years ago have still not been addressed. Our building continues to deteriorate, as we band aid desperately needed repairs. The size and layout of the building is not meeting the needs of our town.
We as the Board of Trustees have put in countless hours researching the best possible solution to the library’s problems. A substantial amount of work is needed on both the 1950’s portion of the building and the 1986 addition. The library needs to correct major maintenance issues and be brought up to date with current ADA, energy efficiency and safety codes.
This project will create a library for Milford’s future. The design includes a larger Children’s Room with program space and a family bathroom, a much needed, larger Teen Area, more public meeting space with after-hours access, quiet study rooms, a technology/business center and expanded parking with adequate handicapped spaces.
The Wadleigh Memorial Library is the most heavily utilized town facility aside from our schools. We average 10,000-12,000 visitors per month, accounting for close to 130,000 visitors per year.
The library is a major driver of downtown business, and we must keep up with Milford’s growing needs. The current building is 0.89 square feet per capita, which is 57% below the state average. Our proposed design is not a case of overbuilding, rather a way to keep up with the needs of our town. Attendance at library programs has increased almost 60% over the past decade. At times we are not able to accommodate everyone because we have literally outgrown our current space.
While some say that it’s not the right time to spend money on the library, we argue the opposite.
The cost of this project to the taxpayers will be offset by a nearly $500,000 contribution by the Board of Trustees. As a Board, we have purchased several surrounding buildings and pieces of land to facilitate this project – without town funds. Bond rates are the lowest they have been in years. Construction costs will only continue to increase if this project continues to be delayed.
The time for our library is now.
Vote “yes” on March 10 for Warrant Article 3 and secure the future of our town’s beloved Wadleigh Memorial Library.
Board of Trustees
Kim Paul, chairperson
Sarah Philbrick Sandhage