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Divided Rockport Select Board votes on library parking plan

Board cuts number of planned parking spaces in half
By Daniel Dunkle | Apr 09, 2019

Rockport — It took several votes and amendments, but the Rockport Select Board arrived at a decision on a parking plan for the new library at its April 8 meeting.

At the center of the debate among community leaders and residents was the proposal on the table at the beginning of the meeting, which called for 14 perpendicular parking spaces to be built in the small Memorial Park across Limerock Street from the site where the new library is set to be built.

Select Board member Douglas Cole made a motion to approve the 14-space plan.

Chairman Ken McKinley provided some facts he felt were relevant before offering an amendment to the motion. He and other board members noted they had received a lot of feedback on the issue and he explained in opening, "We can't make everyone happy."

He said the Memorial Park was donated expressly for the purpose of serving the library, but acknowledged that it has served as a park for some time. He said most who use the library will arrive via automobile, and he expects the new library will attract more patrons than the former one did. The 14-space plan was developed by professionals after much study, he said.

However, he said he had to do what was best for the town, and not just what he thought was best, so he proposed an amendment to the motion to reduce the number of parking spaces to 10.

Select Board Member Jeffrey Hamilton said he could not support more than seven parking spaces. Board member Debra Hall agreed.

Cole argued most of the feedback has been from neighbors who oppose parking spaces in the park, and from people who have to drive from another part of town, who want more parking. He said those who supported the current location of the library rather than the former RES site had done so on the condition that adequate parking be provided.

The board voted down McKinley's 10-spot amendment 4-1, with only McKinley supporting it.

The board then voted down the original 14-spot motion 4-1, with only Cole supporting that measure.

Hamilton made a motion to reduce the number of spaces in the plan to seven. After much discussion, the board voted 4-1 to support this plan, with only McKinley opposed. Cole was going to raise his hand to oppose it, but decided to change his vote.

The board had a lengthy discussion about what this would mean for the sidewalk planned along the parking spaces, and decided to have that end at the seventh space and wrap around the last space at a right angle to connect with Limerock Street. They also decided to have granite curbing continue up Limerock Street.

The board is also in the process of working out a memo of understanding with the Library Foundation, which has been raising money for the library project.

The plan with the board's changes is attached below:

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