In its first two-way dialogue, the library’s facilities task force assured the public it was exploring all avenues for expansion and heard pleas from a neighboring business owner to minimize any disruptions to his family’s livelihood.
“We are far from drawing conclusions or making final recommendations to the library board,” task force member Tim Moore said to people who had gathered at Town Hall September 30 to voice their concerns.
The owner of Woodstock Hardware and the current Woodstock Laundromat, with his family at his side, urged the task force to remember any construction and future activity on the former Library Laundromat site will affect his business.
Despite having two boys who love to read and love the library, Vincent Christofora has issues with the library’s ideas for the former Library Laundromat site, which is adjacent to his hardware store and parking lot. In fact, much of the parking on the stream side of Library Lane belongs to Christofora.
“Does everybody like the fact the library uses our business’ property and do you think that’s ok?” he asked the task force. “That project, as it’s proposed, is built to the property line. You can’t push a wheelbarrow back there. Where are you going to park a backhoe? Where are you going to park a dump truck? Where are you going to put the Johnny-on-the-spot? Are you going to use my parking lot?”
Task force member Joe Mangan assured Christofora those issues are part of the ongoing discussion and it’s in both parties’ interests to have a solution. “The easier you make it for a contractor, the more cost-effective the building,” he said.
The task force was formed as a response to growing public mistrust over the handing of a proposed $1.6-million annex across the street from the library on the site of the former Library Laundromat. The panel is tasked with reviewing the 2007 feasibility study that pointed out the need for more space and to explore some alternatives to the annex proposed by the public. It will make a report to the library trustees.
Library Trustee Barry Samuels implored the panel to utilize Director Amy Raff as a resource and wealth of information, not just someone who can gather reports and perform secretarial duties. “Amy is there five days a week. She has a complete understanding of what is going on.” Samuels said. “Talk to her about what really are her thoughts about the project.”
Samuels also expressed frustration over what he viewed as a changing agreement with the town. In June 2013, the library and Town Board signed a memorandum of understanding that exempted the library from approval by various board and commissions because of its status as a special taxing district. Supervisor Jeremy Wilber said this summer that the memorandum was based on using the original 1,000-square-foot size of the laundromat. “They seemed to think it was ok,” Samuels said. “When we got beyond the footprint, they seemed to want to rescind it.”