To the Editor:
Regarding the proposed new Chester Library, I think abandoning our exquisite building for a new library/community center is a mistake. It will never come close to what we already have. Amenities or not, I would be saddened to see a likely generic visitor-center type structure as a replacement. The Library Board is ignoring their own surveys from the community, where the preference was “resoundingly to stay in the current location.”
The present library building still could be adapted to accommodate the needs of this small but unique town. A community center could be developed in the underutilized town hall, or a more modest new one built at North Quarter Park. We already have the Meeting House, Town Hall, and Elementary School for meetings and events.
The Chester Library is a well-loved, beautiful, historic building in a perfect spot. The funds requested may be better spent in possibly purchasing the land the building is on, and applying for historic preservation grants. We should work with what we have, and not abandon this 1907 building which was generously given by S. Mills Ely to be Chester’s library, as a memorial to his parents. It is an icon of this town.
The Board and some people want a new building and feel this is the best solution, it may be, (if the community wants it), but this move also comes with great aesthetic loss and financial cost, an additional burden on Chester taxpayers, not to be taken lightly.