Time to support library building project

To the Editor:

The Library Trustees have attended several public events to promote the Wadleigh Library building project. Although most feedback has been very positive, there are some common areas of concern that need to be addressed. First: “It’s ugly.” The trustees, as Milford residents, understand the need to keep costs low. The design is a fiscally responsible one, where priority was given to building function to meet the need of residents. We worked with the architect to create a 21st century library building that architecturally complimented the downtown but did not try to be a new building that looks old. We were often reminded that arches and granite lintels are lovely, but add cost to the project. Design elements seen in the downtown streetscape are included in our building project proposal.

Another concern heard is: “It’s too close to the street.” Putting the addition on the street side of the building preserves land in back for additional parking which is desperately needed. Bringing the front door down to the street makes the library more inviting and part of the community, and provides for easier access for those with special needs. Adding more windows on the northern exposure will provide significant cost savings with increased amount of natural lighting. This design brings the library to a prominent place in the downtown and in line with the other buildings around the Oval.

Lastly: “It’s too expensive.” Yes, it is expensive. The trustees have worked for years to maintain the building. Now, when repairs to repairs reach nearly $30,000 per year, it is time to take a responsible course of action. Structural deficiencies in both the 1950s and 1986 parts of the building require immediate attention. These issues can no longer be band aided. This design is an excellent plan as a result of many years of working closely with two different architectural firms. The Board of Trustees and the Facilities Committee decided that this is the best plan meeting cost, program, and staff needs to bring to the Milford voters this year. We, as a Board of Trustees, have been preparing for this day by buying adjoining properties without taxpayer monies. This project is offset by a $500K gift from the Morris K. Webster Trust Fund. We expect large donations after the project is approved, which will be applied to the tax burden. Construction costs increase on average by 3 precent annually. Bond rates are at an all-time low. Are you prepared to take on additional costs simply because you waited?

The trustees ask for your support for Warrant Article 3 – Library Building Project – Vote Yes!

Chris Costantino

Milford Library trustee