Library grant a great opportunity

  • KINSMITH

Published: 7/29/2018 6:00:08 AM

I have to be honest, I haven’t been closely following the development of the library project. On the heels of the announcement in the paper, reading conflicting info on Facebook and a rising tax bill, I decided I better get up to speed so I can be prepared. I went to the celebration open house Saturday, got a tour, and asked lots of questions.

Did you know the grant is specifically from a library organization at the state level and is only specifically for libraries? The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners decided our community was deserving of this award. Pretty amazing. Contrary to what you may have read online, the grant cannot be used for the bank building, the safety complex, or anything else.

Did you know that our library is not in compliance with handicap accessibility laws? I work with veterans and was shocked to learn how difficult it is to get in and navigate the building if you have a disability. God forbid you need to use the bathroom downstairs in a hurry (it’s problematic to get to if you are upstairs in the library). It doesn’t have accessible bathrooms either so try to imagine getting that heavy door open and get into the bathroom if you’re in a wheelchair or use canes.

I also learned that currently the library is starting to head in the direction of the Davis Street school offices with its many structural issues and inadequate systems. Band-aiding what we’ve got has been proven to not be a good plan. This used to be someone’s home a hundred years ago, it wasn’t built for all the wear and tear it has sustained. I’d be thrilled to see it used as a tourism bureau, conference space or even a small business incubator once the new library is finished.

So what about my contribution as a taxpayer? Over the next 25 years taxpayers can expect to pay about a dollar and ten cents a month. Seriously? That’s it? The foundation was set up with the purpose of raising the necessary funds privately to keep the burden on the community as low as possible. Smart, logical and whew, what a relief.

I had no idea how long this has been in the works and how much thoughtful planning has been taking place to make this feasible without putting a lot of the cost onto the community. As the councilors move to vote they are creating a unique legacy, a library that is for everyone of every age. How cool would that be? To say you helped build Greenfield’s first public library? Not to mention creation of a new, much-needed police station that would save us $800,000 in dispatch costs once merged with the state police? Well, I’ll save that for a different letter.

Way to go friends and leaders of the Greenfield Library. I look forward to seeing the Warrior Writers group grow once it has space and accessibility for more veterans to join it at the new library.




Greenfield Recorder

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