Library steering committee backs RES site
Rockport — Rockport Public Library's Steering Committee has put the final touches on its report, which endorses the construction of a new library on the former Rockport Elementary School site on West Street.
After conducting listening tours and gathering input from members of the public who attended those meetings, the steering committee was tasked with creating a sub-committee to explore potential sites, including its current Rockport Village location.
Any new construction or renovations have to be approved by voters.
The committee was able to identify eight possible locations and used 11 different criteria to rank them in order of best scenarios. Other sites considered besides the current and RES sites were Memorial Park across from the library; a combined site of the current library property and Memorial Park; the former Center for Maine Contemporary Arts building; a large commercial site on Route 1; Camden Hills Regional High School library and a Rockport Properties site on Central Street abutting the Shepherd's Pie Building, adjacent to Mary Lea Park.
”The Steering Committee recommends for further consideration by the Library Committee — RES site, corner of West Street (Rt 90) and Commercial Street (Rt 1),” the executive summary states. (Read the full report by clicking the PDF link below.)
In July 2013, nearly 100 residents attended a meeting at Rockport Opera House to support the notion there is room for expansion at the current location in the village after it was suggested the former RES site might be more suitable.
To that end, in the following November, residents voted to make a change to the Shoreland Zone Overlay District, adding municipal buildings to the acceptable use section of the ordinance. With plans approved by Maine Department of Environmental Protection, renovation or new construction of the public library could take place at its existing location in the harbor village.
In May, the Library Committee endorsed a plan for the construction of a new library on the former RES site at the intersection of routes 1 and 90. A study, funded by a $15,000 grant secured by former library director Molly Larson, was completed and determined RES was the most likely site as it already is owned by the town.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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