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Councilors question Falmouth library plans

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Councilors question Falmouth library plans

FALMOUTH — Town councilors expressed continuing concerns Monday after the president of Falmouth Memorial Library explained last week's decision not to move the library to the former Plummer School building.

Kim Millick, president of the library board, said the library ultimately made the decision not to accept the offer of the Plummer School and surrounding property because the move would be too expensive.

“The finances are not feasible, and we understand the people of Falmouth have an attachment to the (existing) building,” she told the council. “Potential opportunities are being pursued on site and these opportunities will require the town to be an active partner in order for us to be successful.”

She added that the unknown costs of moving to the Plummer School made board members wary of the idea.

When the OceanView retirement community presented the idea last fall, cost estimates for the move were between $4 million and $5 million, while an on-site expansion presented by architect Andy Hyland came in around $2 million.

Millick said there is also potential for a move to another location, if expansion on Lunt Road is not available – a statement that Councilor Sean Mahoney questioned because of the ready availability of the Plummer School.

“I love the library, (but) to hear the potential that if expansion needs can't be met at the site that we may have to be looking at another site when we had what would have been a perfectly workable site at Plummer,” he said.

Millick echoed her earlier statement that the cost of going to Plummer wasn't feasible to the board. She said there is a lot of work to do and the board is not interested in a $5 million project at this time.

Councilors Chris Orestis and Teresa Pierce said that if $5 million was too much to move the library, the board should look at keeping any other move or expansion under that cost.

“I think if your reasoning is cost, I am under the impression that you are trying to keep it under ($5 million) and this is where the community is used to seeing this building, so I would be very concerned if you are looking for property other than this area to purchase,” Pierce said. “That gives me great pause to know you are leaving it open ended on how much you might spend.”

Millick said she is not what the cost would be, but the library is talking with neighbors about possible expansion on its current property.

“We are talking with neighbors to figure out what we can do on site,” she said. “(But) if we cannot do anything on site then we will probably have to look elsewhere and we have to keep those options open and we are keeping an open book right now."

Mahoney and Councilor Karen Farber urged the library to make the town a partner in the exploration.

“Think about the relationship and what role the town has,” Farber said. “I do think both bodies need to have some conversation about this and we don't want to wait too long for that.”

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