MERIDEN — A committee charged with reviewing possible renovations to the public library was scheduled to vote Wednesday to recommend a plan to the City Council but had to postpone the decision because not enough voting members were present.
The Library Building Review Committee was expected to recommend one of three renovation options:
1. A $9.3 million plan that would add a 9,000-square-foot addition to the library’s first floor, add about 2,000 square feet to the children’s room, add about 2,500 square feet to the multi-purpose space, and add about 1,500 square feet to the teen area. This option, like the other two, would also enlarge and upgrade the first-floor bathrooms, upgrade space dedicated to historical archives and the library’s Holocaust collection, and improve the rear exterior stairwell. The plan also include upgrades to the library’s entrance, creates a cafe area and collaborative maker space and would preserve parking during construction
2. A $7.8 million plan that would not add an addition, but would renovate the entire first floor. This option would upgrade and enlarge the children’s room by about 1,000 square feet, the multi-purpose area by about 1,200 square feet and the teen area by about 1,400 square feet. Like the first option, this renovation would create a maker space but would complete fewer upgrades to the library entrance.
3. A $5.3 million plan that would not add any space and would renovate 75 percent of the library’s first floor. This option would upgrade and enlarge both the children’s room and first-floor bathroom by about 1,000 feet and would upgrade and add about 1,500-square-feet to the teen area. This option wouldn’t include any entrance upgrades, would provide less room for a maker space and would include fewer mechanical, lighting and energy upgrades.
The seven-member Library Building Review Committee was unable to take action because only three voting members were present, one shy of a quorum. Some voting members who weren’t present offered to phone in, but Corporation Counsel Michael Quinn advised the committee a state statute wouldn’t consider it a quorum if members phoned in, meaning any vote taken would be invalid.
The committee postponed its meeting and is now expected to vote on one of the three renovation options at a meeting on June 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the library, 105 Miller St. The committee’s recommendation would then be discussed and voted on by the City Council’s Finance Committee at a meeting on July 8 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall. The full City Council would then discuss the Finance Committee’s recommendation at a meeting on July 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Committee members present Wednesday said they are leaning toward approving the $9.3 million plan. They argue it would be the most cost effective because it adds additional space for programming. Committee chairman Carmine Trotta said without an addition the library would run short on space in the future.
. “... I personally feel that if we do one of the other two options, it’s more of a Band-Aid than a fix,” Trotta said.
Vice chairwoman Joan Edgerly agreed, calling the other options “side steps.”
“It’s a waste of money to do the others,” she said.
The 9,000-square-foot addition would be built on a parcel adjacent to the library at 33 Catlin St. The city would plan to raze a vacant single-family home currently sits on the property to build the addition. The cost estimate for that renovation option includes the cost of purchasing the property, Trotta said.
The library hasn’t undergone major renovations since it was built in the 1970s.
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