Earlier this year, a bond survey focusing on the Pierson Library was sent out to approximately 5,480 registered voters; 1,188 Shelburne residents responded. The results, which were presented at the May 9 Selectboard meeting, show strong support for the project.
The survey posed two different questions regarding bond amounts. In one, people were asked if they would vote to approve a $6.5 million bond to fully address the ongoing library maintenance and space needs, provide for the restoration of the historic Town Hall, and improve parking, pedestrian access, and traffic flow challenges on the municipal campus. Of the 1,188 respondents, 56.9% said that they would support such a bond.
The other potential scenario would be a $3 million bond for library renovations focused on the youth area, and to provide renovations for the historic Town Hall; 63.2% of respondents said that they would support this option.
At the May 23 Selectboard meeting, discussion about the Library Project was on the agenda. At the next meeting, on June 13, it is expected that there will be a final decision on the matter.
“Many, many, many hours of conversation have gone into this. It has come to the point where it’s time to make a decision,” Selectboard member Colleen Parker said during the meeting.
Former Library Director Lara Keenan said that further public education to highlight the separate components of the project is necessary. There has been some confusion as to what the $6.5 million price tag represents, with some believing it to be the cost of the library replacement alone.
The $6.5 million figure, which Keenan said could be lowered to about $6 million, represents the cost of the entire project, which would include a new library, renovations for the historic Town Hall, and alterations to the driveway leading onto the municipal campus.
Selectboard members expressed support for putting the issue to a bond vote. One point of disagreement that arose during the discussion was the matter of timing. Parker and Jerry Storey both voiced clear support for putting the question to voters in November. Selectboard Chair Gary von Stange favored it being presented in March for Town Meeting.