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Falmouth library weighs new expansion options

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Falmouth library weighs new expansion options

FALMOUTH — A year and a half after voters rejected a plan to move and expand Falmouth Memorial Library, library trustees are considering two new proposals to address its space needs.

One of them is similar to the proposal voters defeated.

“The library has been working on space needs since 2001 and the board, along with the town of Falmouth, have been looking at a multitude of options,” Kim Millick, the library president, said Tuesday.

Millick said the library has looked at proposals to expand at the existing property on Lunt Road, and a move to the former Plummer School property proposed by the OceanView retirement community.

When the town signed its purchase and sale agreement with OceanView for the Plummer-Motz and Lunt Elementary school properties, the council asked the company to explore a public-private partnership. OceanView’s library proposal, which will be presented to the council at its Dec. 10 meeting, would fulfill that request.

Because OceanView is still working on the proposal, a representative from the company declined to discuss details of the plan.

Falmouth architect Andrew Hylund presented another option for expansion to the library board on Monday night. His plan would create 6,800 square feet of usable space on the existing site.

On Tuesday, Hylund said his proposal is for a small multi-story addition adding 2,400 square feet of space on the main floor, 2,400 square feet of stacks and 2,000 square feet on the second floor.

“The whole purpose was to give the library board some other things to consider and information to consider,” he said. “They had questions on it and when we went through it. There (appeared to be) interest in it."

"I know they are going to see a presentation by OceanView and I’m just trying to throw some information out there so they get a lot of well-rounded options and hopefully they will be able to make a sound decision.”

Hylund estimated that his proposal would cost between $1.5 million and $2 million. Millick said she has seen estimates between $4 million and $5 million for any potential OceanView collaboration.

She also said that the library board of trustees is just in the very early stages of exploring its options and will wait to hear public opinion before making any final decisions.

“Falmouth patrons of the library are very passionate about this library,” she said. “People that I’ve worked with over the last 30 years in the surrounding businesses love that library; they don’t want to see it move.”

She said in the next several months, the board will hold charettes and meetings with patrons to figure out what the town prefers.

Millick said she is not sure that the community will support a move to the Plummer School, as OceanView ie expected to propose at the Town Council meeting on Monday.

The referendum question that would have moved the library to the school and created a community center at the Plummer-Motz and Lunt properties was narrowly defeated in 2011.

Town Councilor Tony Payne said the library is in a good place, at the heart of Falmouth’s economic district, adjacent to restaurants and shopping areas with good sidewalk connections. He said the discussion should focus on what the community needs, not just what would be good for Ocean View.

“My gut tells me that the library at OceanView is good for OceanView, but what my role as a councilor is, is to look a what’s good for Falmouth. And sometimes they are the same thing," Payne said. "But in this instance, I really think that what is good for Falmouth is to continue to enhance the sense of community where we have invested so much already and not have mini-sprawl and take a key center of activity and move it out."

Amber Cronin can be reached at acronin@theforecaster.net or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.