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Thread: Future Exciting Possibilities for Our Current Library Building

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    726

    Post Future Exciting Possibilities for Our Current Library Building

    The following was submitted by Tom Fay of the Library Planning Committee:


    During the first week of April 2018, residents will come to Town Meeting and decide on funding a new library at 195 Main Street, the site of the former Highway Department Garage next to the middle school. Construction costs will be partially offset by a $10M state grant, which will contribute approximately 40% of eligible construction costs. Should residents vote to fund the new library’s construction, exciting opportunities will exist for the current library building at 5 Concord Road.


    The 17-member Library Planning Committee (LPC) would like to thank those residents who emailed us or attended our recent meeting on Thursday, October 19 at the Town Building (video of the meeting online here). This meeting was advertised as an invitation seeking public input. We discussed ideas for future uses of 5 Concord Road if the new library adjacent to the middle school goes forward. Residents’ ideas were creative and all were thoughtful. This meeting will be one of many in a deliberate and extensive process to achieve consensus on the building’s future use.


    The building at 5 Concord Road was built in 1900 when Wayland’s population was about 2000 residents. Wayland’s population grew and in 1988, the building was modestly enlarged with an addition to the north. Today Wayland has about 14,500 residents. Over the past 15 years, the Trustees conducted several library planning studies which informed the Trustees that the current library is painfully short on space for various needs, including space for collections, operations, technology, children’s room, teen use, quiet study, spaces for small meetings, classes and events. The 1988 modest addition is not addressing the library’s space needs. A new library has been included in the town’s capital budget since a study in 2005.


    In January 2015, the LPC was formed to evaluate the existing library services and spaces (the Program), and determine whether the Trustees should take advantage of the anticipated 2016-17 Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program. After extensive hours of research and deliberation, including over 25 meetings and multiple public forums and visits to at least 14 Massachusetts libraries, the LPC issued a report strongly recommending the Trustees submit a construction grant application. That report, and many pages of related materials, can be found at https://waylandlibrary.org/new-building-and-planning/">https://waylandlibrary.org/new-building-and-planning/.


    It was the unanimous conclusion of the LPC that the current library must be expanded. Like so many residents, all of us on the LPC feel the building at 5 Concord Road is very special. We love its history, architecture, placement, and iconic nature. However, after much study, including input from professionals, the LPC reluctantly recommended that a new library be built at the middle school site, instead of recommending an expansion of the current library building. The three primary reasons for this recommendation were due to restricting regulations, size, and access. The town’s Aquifer Protection District by-law, prohibiting impervious lot coverage in excess of 30% (of the upland of the lot), was a significant factor. The current library building at 5 Concord Road, its parking lot, and walkways already constitute impervious coverage of over 40%. A meaningful and harmonious expansion is impossible and impractical.


    At our most recent meeting, it was the consensus of attendees, LPC members, town officials, and residents alike that the current library should remain a town building. A past idea of selling the building to a private developer for condominium, apartments, or other uses was brought forward to gauge whether this would be a welcome idea. It was not. One of the more popular ideas discussed was a proposal for an Arts/History/Cultural Center with classes, talks, workshops, and studio and display space for artists. It was also suggested the building could house a museum on Wayland’s history, from pre-colonial times to the present. The idea of using some or all of the space for town offices received a cool reception. A suggestion was also made to retain at least part of the building as a reading room to allow public access to the Rotunda and to continue to have a book drop there.


    Also put forward was the idea of using part of the space for continuing adult education, and even a small café. One attendee commented that the soon-to-be-completed rail trail will likely increase “traffic” at 5 Concord Road, where bicyclists and walkers could enjoy some of these proposed uses.


    The LPC will report to the Board of Selectmen in the coming weeks with our initial suggestions for future uses of 5 Concord Road. However, much more public input will be sought before any definitive decisions are made regarding this important town building.


    If you could not attend the recent LPC meeting, feel free to contact LPC chair Tom Fay (email link) to offer your thoughts or ideas.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 10-24-2017 at 11:26 AM. Reason: to fix link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Dudley Pond
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    2

    Default Can Wayland re-purpose 5 Concord Road?

    In response to Mr. Fay's comments:

    #1 – legal background up to October 19th meeting
    Wayland has received three opinions that the land and buildings of the original section of the Wayland Library may not be repurposed for non-library uses without a legal action before Probate Court. This has been known since 2015 and should have been settled by now.

    Town Counsel has advised the Board of Selectmen that legal costs of such an action are unknown, the outcome is uncertain, and the timeframe is unpredictable.

    Town Counsel opined:
    “The will of Warren Gould Roby does not, in my opinion, express a general charitable intent. […] Accordingly, in my further opinion, an action in cy pres, seeking a general reformation of the terms of the trust, would not be applicable.”

    Her opinion did not suggest any legal basis for an action to set aside the public charitable trust created by Town Meeting accepting the Roby bequest. She advised that it would be difficult to overturn the intent of the Roby bequest, especially if the action is opposed.

    She may well have relied on Cohen v. City of Lynn, 33 Mass. App. Ct. 271 (1992) http://masscases.com/cases/app/33/33massappct271.html where a citizen’s group challenged and prevailed in a re-use case which had even been permitted by a special legislative act.


    #2 – October 19 public meeting & memo
    The Selectmen asked Town Counsel what permitted library uses might be. Town Counsel suggested narrowing the question to a list of possible re-uses which she would evaluate. Selectmen asked the Library Trustees to do that, and they held a forum October 19th and presented a memo included in the 11/6 Selectmen's packet.

    The memo from the ‘working group’ asserts that
    ‘American Library Association’s current definition of the term [library]: “A library is a collection of resources…. “’ citing: http://libguides.ala.org/library-definition

    This claim is inaccurate. The quote is the first cited of many possible general definitions of a library. On that same web page, the ALA goes on to say:

    "However, for public libraries, the governmental definition used by the Institute for Museum and Library Services applies:
    A public library is established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, and provides at least the following:
    1. an organized collection of printed or other library materials, or a combination thereof;
    2. paid staff;
    3. an established schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public;
    4. the facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule, and
    5. is supported in whole or in part with public funds."

    The memo begins with the assertion that “A $10M state grant would contribute approximately 40% of the costs in question”. As the library’s own website points out, the real costs would be $29M -

    The estimated cost of the project described in the grant application is $24,771,287. When the customary three years of escalation costs are added, the projected cost totals $29,167,117. That figure includes certain costs properly charged to the Town but subsumed under the grant for the purpose of state reimbursement (e.g., for demolition of the two buildings at the former Highway Department garage site). Of the projected $29 million in costs, there would be a cost to the Town of between approximately $18.5 million and $19.2 million, and the state grant would cover between $10 million and $10.5 million.

    Thus: $10,137,980 / $29,167,117 = 34.76% is the accurate percentage of reimbursement, not 40%.


    #3 Re-uses identified at the public meeting and reported in the memo

    Some Selectmen were close enough to hear that the predominant opinion expressed during this public meeting was that 5 Concord Road should continue to be used as a library. This was not reported in the memo.

    The memo accurately notes that those attending disfavored uses where the building did not have as active public use. Ideas included:

    > a cultural center including performance space, studio space, and historical exhibit space
    > a teen center / café [ presumably with a teen librarian cum barista]
    > an art and technology/innovation center
    > adult education, maker space, reading room
    While all of these uses might be associated with a public library, they do not constitute a public library. They do not satisfy the intent of the Roby public charitable trust nor do they fit the ALA definition of a public library.


    #4 Comments on memo recommendations:

    The ‘working group’ suggests that “the town undertake an extensive and deliberate process to achieve consensus on the future of 5 Concord Road,” and that “the BOS establish a committee for this purpose”.

    a) Until the town establishes what is legally possible, this would be premature An ‘extensive and deliberate process’ would have no basis for achieving consensus because it would lack a knowledge of what was possible.

    b) Until the new construction receives a 2/3 vote at town meeting, re-use is only a conjecture and formation of a committee is premature.
    c) The re-use problem/opportunity was identified in the fall of 2015 and left to drift. Two years later, the advocates of moving our library ask to make the re-use of their library building a BoS responsibility.

    d) No costs have been identified with a re-purposing. Even if the memos possible uses are legally allowed:
    > We will have 13,400 + 33,500 sq. ft. of library space.

    > Weston’s similar re-purposing is estimated to cost $2.800,000 from CPA funds – and be part of their library system. https://www.westonaic.org/faq https://www.westonaic.org/faq

    Re-purposing 5 Concord Road should be recognized as another major capital project.
    Would it come before the long-postponed Community Center?

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