Rockport to hold hearing on new library proposal

Posted Aug. 01, 2014, at 11:31 a.m.

ROCKPORT, Maine — The town’s Select Board has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday evening on whether to hold a non-binding referendum on building a new public library at the former Rockport Elementary School site.

The issue has garnered significant interest over the past few years.

The current library is located downtown in a building covering 3,324-square-feet. Residents have been divided over whether the library should be expanded or a new one should be built.

The library’s steering committee has been meeting since March and held a series of meetings throughout the town to garner input on what residents want for a new library. The committee issued a report in June, recommending a new library be built at the former Rockport Elementary School property owned by the town. That lot is located near the intersection of Routes 1 and 90.

The committee indicated in its recommendation a new building should be at least 10,000-square-feet, and 14,000 square feet would be needed in the foreseeable future.

During the Select Board hearing Tuesday, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the auditorium of the Rockport Opera House, residents will be asked what they think about a proposal to hold a non-binding referendum Nov. 4.

The proposed ballot question is as follows: “Do you agree that the town of Rockport should develop a plan for a new library on the RES site, provided the current ball fields are preserved and pending community input on design and budget?”

Expecting a large turnout, the Select Board issued guidelines about how the meeting will be run. An option also will be considered to continue the meeting if comments go beyond 10 p.m.