On Monday, April 29 at 7 pm, at the Rockport Opera House on Main Street, the Rockport Select Board is to continue discussions about the Rockport Public Library bidding process.
At a bid opening on April 18, all three bids were over the project’s current $2.7 million budget. Of the $2.7 million, $1.5 million is taxpayers’ money approved in a ballot measure in 2018. The Select Board agreed to reevaluate the costs of the new library project and return on April 29 with cost efficient recommendations.
There are other expenditures. The Select Board has not sufficiently addressed expenditures above the $1.5 million. Because the design of the new library building has tripled in size, from 3,300 sq. feet to 10,000 sq. feet, there will be over $370,000 in additional costs necessary to realign local streets and add parking. The Library Committee has refused to pay these expenditures even though they are a direct result of a library building too large for the site it sits on. There are also consultant fees for the Architect and Owner’s Rep, demolition of the old library, retrofitting the library once built, and landscaping of the library grounds and adjacent Memorial Park that are not part of the current library budget.
Who will pay for these expenditures? The Select Board has had no clear answers.
There is another site for the new library, one that easily accommodates a 10,000 square foot building, a park and as much parking as needed. When voters approved the library in 2018, a site for the library was not on the ballot. The Select Board voted to build the library at its current site, which previously accommodated the 3,300 square foot now demolished old library.
This project has not been transparent from its beginning, is now over budget and does not fit in the neighborhood. Attend this meeting and see for yourself.
Mary Stevens lives in Rockport