In recent months the Rockport Select Board, Town Manager and Building Committee have been working with architects and engineers to create a construction proposal for a new Rockport Public Library which will appear before voters in November.

In a statement issued by the town of Rockport on Aug. 3, Select Board Chairman Doug Cole sounded optimistic that estimates for the project were within the projected $3.5 million budget.

"[The estimated costs] tell me me we're doing this right by keeping it local. We had three separate estimates — two from local contractors and one from a local estimator — and they're all landing comfortable within our budget goal of $3.5 million," said Cole.

Cole serves on the project's building committee along with Selectman Ken McKinley, Library Committee member Ann Filley, Library Director Ben Blackmon, Town Manager Rick Bates, architect Steve Smith and engineer Will Gartley. Charlie Frattini of Phi Home Builders was recently hired as the owner's representative for the project.

"The next step in the planning process is to have the Town's owner's representative, Phi Home Builders, review the estimates, recommend adjustments and effectively give the building plan an official 'seal of approval.' We expect to have that report in time for the Sept. 10 Select Board meeting. Our goal there is to ensure that our cost estimating comes in as close to where final bids end up next spring. We want to avoid surprises," said Bates.

Phi was one of four candidates for the position and will work with Smith and Gartley to provide an estimate for the construction of the building, before it is put out to bid. The agreement with Phi, which was voted into effect by the Select Board on July 23, would terminate at the point that the project goes out for bid. Town Manager Rick Bates said that the owner's representative position would pay $75.50 per hour, for 10 hours a week, and would last approximately 10 weeks.

A press release sent from the Rockport Town Office on July 26 stated that Phil would no longer be submitting a bid for the building's construction:

"After further consideration, it became clear that if Phi were to be the Owner’s Representative for the project, the potential existed to create an unfair advantage during the bidding process following a November vote approving the bond. Neither the town nor Phi wanted that perception. Instead, both parties agreed that Phi will not bid on the project as they had originally intended and will act only as the Owner’s Representative for the project in assisting the town," read a portion of the statement,

A group of volunteers has recently formed the Rockport Library Foundation to help raise the $2 million in private donations necessary to proceed with construction of the new building. The estimated cost of the building is $3.5 million: the remaining $1.5 million will appear as a bond question to voters at the November polls.

The plan for the new library includes a redesigned intersection of Russell, Union and Limerock streets — a redesign that would remove the existing island that lies in the middle, where the three roads merge. A number of new parking spaces would also be added to Limerock Street opposite the building where Memorial Park is.