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Tilton Library to reopen its front doors once steps fixed

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The stairs at the front entrance of the Tilton Library in South Deerfield are in need of repair.<br/>

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    The stairs at the front entrance of the Tilton Library in South Deerfield are in need of repair.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The stairs at the front entrance of the Tilton Library in South Deerfield are in need of repair.<br/>

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    The stairs at the front entrance of the Tilton Library in South Deerfield are in need of repair.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The stairs at the front entrance of the Tilton Library in South Deerfield are in need of repair.<br/>
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The stairs at the front entrance of the Tilton Library in South Deerfield are in need of repair.<br/>

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Visitors to the Tilton Library will soon be able to walk up the front steps, which have been closed for more than two decades.

The Board of Selectmen hired an Agawam company, RAC Builders Inc. to bring the marble steps up to code. The company will renovate the library steps for $73,430.

Years ago, the steps of the 97-year-old building were deemed unsafe and closed off due to a deteriorating archway and brickwork. According to Town Administrator Bernie Kubiak, the steps are structurally unstable and “need to be reconditioned and reinforced.”

One of the problems are the bricks making up the marble steps. Over the years, moisture has caused the bricks to shift and crack. The structure supporting the stairs also needs to be reinforced, Kubiak said.

To enter the building, library visitors used the handicapped-accessible entrance on the south side of the building.

“It’s great to have that part of the library accessible again,” Library Director Sara Woodbury said. “It brings it back to part of its original purpose.”

The library, however, will continue to use the south side doors as the main entrance to the building once the front steps are renovated.

The completion date for the project is weather dependent.

“We’re coming into the winter. We’ll have to see if we can do it now or defer to the spring,” Kubiak said.

RAC Builders bid the lowest among two other companies, Chapman Waterproofing Co. of Boston and LaRochelle Construction Co. of Holyoke.

According to the library’s website, Tilton Library was established in 1915 from money bequeathed by Chauncey B. Tilton, a local grocer, and by municipal and private contributions. In the late 20th century, Tilton Library merged with Old Deerfield’s Dickinson Library to become the Town of Deerfield’s public library.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 268

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