The community discussion on the subject of what to do with the deteriorating conditions of the Woodstock Library has provided a lively dialogue thus far, which is not finished by any means. It seems as if the Library trustees are as yet uncertainly divided and that the choices on the table are still fluid. Passions are running high, and this is not an aspect of the process that can be easily avoided. Woodstock has had such discussions before — over the post office, over the sewer project, over the Comeau property, highway garage…and over a 2007 Library renovation and the 2013-2015 battle over a proposed annex. The current effort grows out of those battles as trustees seek to find a solution to long acknowledged inadequate conditions that the community can accept.
Where and what to do with such facilities is quite important in a small town that values its institutions, its look and history, and is discussed long and deeply.
But there is one thing that is certain about the effort to create a more modern, workable space for the library — the people…the voters of Woodstock will be the ones to decide. How will that be? Well, whichever plan is put forward by the trustees will cost money. And though there are discussions of how that money, or how much of it will be raised, a goodly portion of it, will likely have to be borrowed, in a bond issue. And a bond issue must come before the voters of Woodstock for approval. The trustees will decide which option goes on the ballot, but you will have the final say — if, indeed, you are a registered voter.
You can help Woodstock Library trustees in the process by letting them know what you believe about the options on the table by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The board has rightfully decided to make sure the front lawn, a beautiful feature of the property, stays intact. The choices, with many caveats attached, basically call for tearing down the current library and building anew, or renovating the current main library and building while taking down the dilapidated book barn in the back and constructing some type of new building in that spot to integrate with the renovation to solve the space needs of a modern library.
Each carries a price tag that could add somewhere from $65-$85 for the average assessed property in Woodstock. The price for the new building is higher, but Woodstock would have longer to pay it off, being new construction, thus equalizing the yearly cost.
Library trustees have to be prepared to make a strong case for either option, as it is possible that Woodstockers will not want the additional taxes and will approve neither.
We had a summary of the options that were considered last December at hudsonvalleyone.com/2016/12/19/the-five-options-for-woodstock-librarys-upgrade/.
The Library has its draft Master Facilities Plan Report, from May, on its Website at http://www.woodstock.org/planning/. Neither of these should be considered definitive, ours because, as we said before, the plans are fluid and this is from last December. The draft Master Facilities Plan Report, because it was written by the guys who want to build a new library, and thus appears to seek to make that case. There is informative stuff in both, but the best way to participate and understand is to read it all, seek the information yourself, so that when you do get to vote on it, you are prepared.