ROCKPORT — Members of the Public Works Department began demolition work on the grounds of the former Rockport Public Library building at 1 Limerock St. on Nov. 30. A backhoe was used to remove stone walls and brick walkways from the site. Public Works Director Mike Young said some of the stones and metal outdoor furniture would be reused by the town.
A Nov. 26 press release from the Town Office said that demolition of the building was expected to commence Dec. 3 and could take up to 10 days, involving a large excavator and dump trucks at the site. According to Town Manager Rick Bates, some, but not much, of the library will get salvaged or recycled.
“We have offered a lot to Habitat for Humanity and the stone work and some plantings, the interior door, furnace heat pumps are all being salvaged,” he said, Nov. 30. “Some of the windows are being salvaged as well. The bookshelves have been offered to area libraries that might have some use but so far no takers. This is not a building that has a lot of valuable parts in it.”
Bates said that following demolition the remnants of the building would be disposed of at the Mid-Coast Solid Waste facility on Union St. He said the price for disposal would be $100 per ton; at this time there is not an estimate of what the total tonnage will be.
Demolition of the building now allows engineers to better gauge the composition of soil and ledge underneath the existing library, built in 1949.
Select Board Chairman Doug Cole said Nov. 30 that some of the pathway lighting had been salvaged and that some of the landscaping, such as rhododendron, had been marked by members of the Rockport Garden Club for transplanting in the spring.
On Nov. 6, Rockport voters approved a $1.5 million bond to help fund the construction of a new, $3.5 million library building at the Limerock Street site. A fundraising group, organized as the Rockport Library Foundation, is presently soliciting $2 million or more in private donations to help build the new 7,000-square-foot structure on the corner of Russell Ave., and Limerock, Union and Central streets. Construction of parking spaces for the facility is expected to take place along the Limerock Street side of Memorial Park.
The library moved to its current, temporary location at 485 Commercial Street in December 2015 following reports that the original 1 Limerock Street building was structurally flawed and did not comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The Commercial Street building is leased by the town at a cost of approximately $35,000 per year. Although mold was also cited as a contributing factor to abandoning the old location and moving to the Commercial Street rental facility, no studies were conducted to confirm the presence of pervasive mold.
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