What should the future of the Pierson Library project be? After receiving numbers on the new library, historic Town Hall renovations, and improvements to the municipal campus that place the cost of the total project in the $5.8-7.2 million range, there are questions of how to proceed. Those questions will be put to the town’s registered voters via a survey that will be mailed out in a couple of months.
Town Manager Joe Colangelo said that the three components of the project could be done separately, but there may be some economies of scale. The new library portion of the project carries a price tag of about $4.5-5.5 million.
The hope had been that much of the price for the new library would come from private funding. However, that hope was dashed in recent weeks. Colangelo said that there have been two separate feasibility studies regarding fundraising, and both indicated that most money would need to be publicly financed.
“Two things have become apparent,” Colangelo said. One is that the community desires a 21st-century library. The other is that, he said, “We can’t do this through a private fundraising effort.”
Resident input has been sought throughout the work on the project. This will be continued when the survey goes out to Shelburne’s over 5000 registered voters in March. The professionally constructed survey will gather more in-depth information on the project, and it will serve as a guide for the project’s next steps.
The survey is expected to show how much public funding people are willing to put toward these three components. Colangelo said that it will be a way to take the temperature of the town regarding the project. If, and how, things proceed will be guided by the feedback received.
“If the project does move forward, it needs to have the support of the vast majority of the people here [in Shelburne],” Colangelo said.