Woodstock Library officials heard more criticism of their plans for a $1.5 million annex at their May 15 meeting. In stark contrast to recent meetings, only a handful of people showed up to express their views.
Trustees had planned to discuss retaining a public relations firm to handle an information campaign for the project, but that agenda item was scrapped in favor of soliciting local talent instead. As a first step, the trustees announced they will hold a public meeting, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 8 at the Town Hall, 76 Tinker Street.
Library board President Stuart Auchincloss said while a format for the meeting hasn’t been formulated, he is working with Woodstock Our Town, a group formed to foster better communication between town officials and community members.
“We are talking with them about how to form a civil dialogue,” Auchincloss said.
The annex design by Joel Sanders Architect includes a 2,050-square-foot building at the site of the former Woodstock Laundromat across Library Lane that includes a 65-seat meeting space that can be divided into smaller areas, a “maker-space” workshop, two unisex bathrooms, a small kitchen, storage room, front and rear decks and a roof deck.
The handful of people at the May 15 meeting expressed some of the same concerns brought up at earlier meetings.
Resident Steve Wieczorek said events at the library create a parking problem that makes it nearly impossible for traffic to get through Library Lane. He is concerned the annex will add to the parking problem.
He said during a recent book sale, police had to be called to remove illegally parked cars.
“It became a prelude to what potentially could be a problem on Library Lane,” Wieczorek said, noting a woman in her 80s lives near the library and has been to the hospital numerous times. The parking situation could prevent an ambulance from getting to her in time. “The fate and health and well-being of that woman lies with you and the board,” he said. “Before proceeding with any improvements to the property, parking and the safety of the people involved must be addressed.”
Wieczorek suggested if the library went with the annex as originally proposed, it would only require cleaning and painting the laundromat building. He suggested local businesses would be willing to donate the paint and volunteers would clean and paint the building.
While the board is figuring out how to respond to public concerns, Wieczorek said they aren’t being transparent enough. “The questions go unanswered and disposed of, never to be resurrected,” he said. “All you do is say thank you with no answer ever forthcoming.”