Ilsley Library eyes its space needs

MIDDLEBURY — Ilsley Library Trustee John Freidin on Monday updated the Middlebury selectboard on the library’s ongoing effort to look at its program needs and determine the best way to house them within the Ilsley building on Main Street.
Trustees have formed a committee to tackle to the issue. That panel, headed by Freidin, has circulated a public survey and visited five other libraries that have recently undertaken renovation/expansion projects.
Freidin announced the library board will hire Barbara Doyle-Wilch, the former dean of Library and Information Services at Middlebury College, to assist trustees as they examine program and space needs. It’s a process that will be done carefully and deliberately and that will lapse into next year, according to Freidin. The study might result in a construction project for the library.
Freidin said there are three components to the library’s study. First, trustees will agree on a vision of what kind of services the library should offer to the community during the next 25 years. Second, library officials will need to map out space needed to deliver the services established by the trustees. And third, trustees will put out a request for proposals to architectural firms interested in showing how the library could physically meet its programming goals.
“There has been a real learning curve, and this has been very rewarding,” Freidin said of the work done thus far.
He added trustees would like any work that might be done on the library to dovetail with planning for an economic development initiative the town is now trying to define and ultimately build behind the Ilsley.
In other action on Monday, the Middlebury selectboard:
•  Briefly discussed a request from Verizon Wireless to replace the Chipman Hill tower to support “the next generation” of telecommunications equipment. Verizon officials have submitted some preliminary plans to the town showing a 140-foot-tall tower that would be 5-feet wide per side along the uppermost 80 feet of the new, three-sided structure. The uppermost 80 feet of the existing tower measures 1.5 feet per side, and it is also three-sided.
Plans call for Sprint/Nextel and Green Mountain Power to leave the tower, according to a letter about the project written by Jeremy Farcas of Murphy Sullivan Kronk, a Vermont law firm assisting Verizon with the project.
Members of the Battell Trust, which controls the property on which the current tower is located and on which the future tower would be built, have asked for additional information — including compensation, potential disruption during construction and potential permitting issues.
•  Unanimously agreed to apply for a $10,000 grant through the Addison County Regional Planning Commission to pay for a traffic study to evaluate low-cost traffic calming measures that could be deployed in residential neighborhoods, such as South Street, where speeding has been a concern.
•  Unanimously endorsed a new “Park and Win” program designed to encourage downtown merchants and employees to use the municipal parking lot in Frog Hollow during the upcoming holiday shopping season and while the Main Street and Merchants Row railroad overpasses are being replaced. So $500 in town funds will be set aside for additional signs publicizing the lot, and another $3,000 will be used for weekly prizes for people who park in those spaces. The spaces will be numbered. A space will be selected randomly each week, with the person who parked there receiving $50 in Middlebury Money to use at local stores.
•  Unanimously approved a proposal by Middle Road Ventures to slightly relocate a portion of Town Highway No. 20, also known as the class 4 section of Middle Road. The relocation will allow Middle Road Ventures the opportunity to realize better development potential for its land in that area, which has already been approved for a residential subdivision.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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