Plans for building our new Rockport library are well underway. Unfortunately, there seems to be some push back on the parking. Currently, a group of individuals from the village, along with Select Board member Debra Hall, believe that there was no transparency for the parking plan, and that we didn’t vote on it. Ms. Hall and others would like to review additional parking plans. A PenBay Pilot letter to the editor entitled, “We Voted for a new library, not a destroyed park, shares some of their objections.”
The current parking plan is not new, and has been vetted, studied and the costs are known. This plan (14 head in parking spaces on Limerock-across from the library) was, in fact, coupled with the building design from the beginning.
For the last two years the latest iteration of the parking design (architect Smith’s plan is similar to architect Reed’s plan) was clearly displayed along with the building plans.
Some who were proponents of locating the library at RES, including me, were swayed or at the very least had their fears allayed about safe and adequate parking to be offered at the new site. By changing the parking plan, it negates the voting process that took place in good faith last November. It certainly doesn’t honor the democratic process.
Those who would like to change the parking plan prefer 5-6 parallel parking spaces on Limerock and several on Union and Russell streets. I am concerned about safety for those with children, older adults who have challenges getting around, or those with disabilities. It can be intimidating to open a driver side door onto a busy street. Safe parking is paramount for our new site.
The current parking plan does take away some green space to allow for the 14 spaces on Limerock. However, with a thoughtful redesign, new trees added, as well as other improvements, Memorial Park will be better utilized. Interestingly, at a recent Select Board meeting for the library, Ann Filley read from the Bok deed and even I was surprised to hear the wording that the two parcels of land either side of Limerock were suppose to be used for the building of a library and only a library.
Lastly, for me, this is a social justice issue, as well. We must think about Rockport residents who do not live in the village area. This library is for all Rockporters and most will need to drive. With the dynamic programing currently at the library, 353 programs for children and adults in the last seven months, we need the number of spaces offered in the current plan.
I hope you will contact our Select Board members in support of the current parking plan, because I can’t imagine building a beautiful new library, and limiting the parking! An important Select Board meeting about the parking issue is March 25. Please email, call, or come to the meeting. Given that we have already voted on the plans when we voted to support the bond last Nov., I hope that the Select Board will make a decision soon. Waiting until June to resolve this issue with another vote, will only cause more divisiveness in our town than already exists.
Below you will find the emails of our Select Board members:
Doug Cole: email@example.com
Debra Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Hamilton: Jhamilton@town.rockport.me.us
Mark Kelley: email@example.com
Ken McKinley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Dailey lives in Rockport