Meeting tonight

Rockport Select Board to consider leasing Route 1 space for temporary library space

Mon, 09/14/2015 - 8:45am

ROCKPORT — The Select Board will continue its consideration of the town library’s future and its temporary relocation to a former book publisher’s office building Route 1 this evening when it convenes for a regularly scheduled meeting, at 7 p.m. in the Rockport Opera House Meeting Room. The board will also talk about the inclusion of a November warrant article that would ask townspeople if they want to keep the library at its current site, or have it on the June 2016 warrant, or not at all.

At a joint workshop of the Library Committee and the Select Board last week, a tentative consensus was reached that the committee would continue to define and refine the library’s programmatic space expectations while the Select Board would continue to identify its physical space.

The proposed temporary space in the former International Marine offices at 485 Commercial Street is approximately 5,000 square feet in size, has space for parking and is fairly easily modified to suit the town’s needs, Town Manager Rick Bates estimated.

At its Aug. 10 meeting, the Select Board agreed to pick up the speed in determining next steps for relocating the town's public library. The town is looking for a temporary space to house 32,000 books, programs and staff for what could be a three-year period. The relocation follows on the heels of two library reports. One engineering report cited the structural flaws of the existing building, another cited the need for 3,000 more square feet to accommodate the programs.

Other temporary sites that had been under consideration have fallen off the list, for one reason or another. Bates has also estimated that the cost of moving or staying in the current library is roughly the same, given the immediate remediations and renovations that would have to be completed on the existing library building.

“There are a growing number of people that are taking the position that leaving the building is a mistake for a number of reasons,” wrote Bates, in his premeeting notes to the Select Board. “While some of the reasons have validity, I am not sure they outweigh the perceived risks.

“Largely, the concern is about the elephant in the room, as discussed last night. If the board were to take a vote that made a commitment to construct a new library on the land donated by Mary Curtis Bok (both parcels) a lot of tension would be eliminated and we could focus moving and on building a library. I believe that the ‘Friends of Rockport’ would shift gears and work hard to raise money and get a new library built.

“There is an opportunity on Monday, Sept. 21, for the board to hold a special Select Board meeting to review the terms of a lease proposal and make the decision on the move or not.”

If the Select Board agrees tonight, it could direct Bates to negotiate a lease arrangement for the property on 485 Commercial Street in Rockport, as the site of a temporary library location, and to bring the terms of that lease back to the Board for discussion in executive session at a special meeting to be held on Monday, Sept. 21, immediately following the Cemetery Workshop which is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Tonight’s meeting will be broadcast live on public access Channel 22 and streamed online at

In other town business:

The board will continue talking about possibly pursuing a national endowment for the arts grant to benefit of Bay Chamber and Rockport Opera House by creating a new position to help manage the Rockport Opera House.

Approval of the Capital Improvement Policy

Several – 125th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee

Suggested Motion: Motion to approve the application of Linda Greenlaw and Stacey Parra to the 125th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee.

Presentation by SAD-28/Five Town CSD Superintendent Maria Libby and Assistant Superintendent Gary Gonyer

Superintendent Maria Libby and Assistant Superintendent Gary Gonyer will be on hand for a brief presentation to the board. This is informational; there is no decision to be made and no action necessary.

Harbor Committee presentation

Set the date to hold a follow-on workshop to fine-tune the Town-Owned Credit Card Policy

Set date for a special Select Board meeting to discuss Fiber Optic rollout strategies

Confirm date for the Ordinance Review Committee kick-off meeting as Thursday, Oct. 1, 5:30 p.m., Rockport Town Office Richardson Room

Approval of the Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) in the amount of $1 million for the infrastructure work approved by vote at November 2014 General Election

Set the polling hours for the November Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm in the Rockport Town Office Richardson Room

Vote to sign Special Budget Validation Referendum - Five Town CSD Warrant and Notice of Election Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Elect a representative to the Maine Municipal Association Annual Business Meeting

Wastewater Commissioners

Commitment of Sewer User Rates for the period of July 2015

Approval of up to $40,000 to accomplish the survey of the remaining section of Commercial St.


Related stories 


Rockport Select Board hopes to move library before winter sets in


Studies are in: Rockport Library building in poor condition, more space needed


Initial Rockport Library findings: Citizens want improved service, better parking


Rockport library consultant wants to hear from citizens, presents initial findings April 29


Rockport selectmen vote no to placing another library question on June ballot


Rockport addresses proposed June Town Meeting article to keep library in situ


What is Rockport Library, and what might it become? 


Rockport residents vote against a new library, placing it at former RES site 


Rockport leaders approve two library referendums; next stop, voting booth







 Rockport leaders consider controversial library vote, water quality, real estate acquisition 


Rockport subcommittee recommends RES land as library site


Debate over future of Rockport Public Library: Expand on-site or build on former school land 



Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at; 207-706-6657