July 10, 2014TUFTONBORO — Tuftonboro's nine-member Library Building Advisory Committee (LBAC) has narrowed the field of viable options to three, Chairman Dave Ford reported to the Board of Selectmen at its Monday, July 7 meeting, Ford described the three options under study.
One option is the trustees' proposal that received popular support at town meeting this past March but fell 15 votes short of the 66 percent majority required for passage. It would be located on town property behind the present building.
Another he termed, " trustees' light," would be a pared down version, also located behind the library.
A third option with merit, said Ford, is a plan developed by committee member Skip Hurt to build a new library across the street from the current library, on town property.
The idea floated at Town Meeting for an annex across the street was rejected. It was not considered practical to offer services in two places, and such a move would require more staff.
Expansion of the present building, said Ford, would require crossing into the wetlands and involve subsequent mitigation. In past public discussions, adding a second story was revealed to reduce the square footage available because of the need for an elevator and a stairway. Also, shoring up the building to bear the load of books would add considerable cost to the project. As far as the committee is concerned, it is not considered an acceptable alternative to be evaluated any further.
As to whether a combined library with Wolfeboro would work, as suggested in a letter to the editor in the Granite State News by Barry Ennis and as asked by a committee member, Ford said that Wolfeboro has been planning for an expansion in the next few years to better accommodate its own high usage.
The selectmen commented that the Tuftonboro library also serves as a community center for townsfolk.
The committee, which meets on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in the Tuftonboro Free Library, has voted in favor of converting the building for use as a police station.
It has concluded that determining how the building, once vacated, would be used by the town is critical. "This question must have a solid answer for the new library project to move forward," declares Ford's memo to the board on July 1.
Police Chief Andy Shagoury is setting up a committee per the request of selectmen to address questions on whether it would meet the needs of the police department and how much a renovation would cost.
The LBAC, which advises the library's Board of Trustees, is working weekly toward developing a proposal. Once a plan is approved by the trustees, it will then undergo scrutiny by the Capital Improvements Program committee and the Budget Committee.
The library's trustees are charged with bringing the plan forward to the taxpayers at Town Meeting.
The Budget Committee decided at its June 3 meeting to meet the first Tuesday of the month for July, August and September for discussion of the progression toward a building proposal by the LBAC.
All meetings are open to the public.