Court's Demolition Opens Door for Library Addition/Community Center?
By Kyle Stucker
Hampton-North Hampton Patch , July 1, 2013
[The following article is courtesy of Hampton-NorthHampton.patch.com
Lane Memorial Library is hoping to get the green light from town officials to formally begin the process of drafting plans for an addition that could satisfy Hampton's long-sought demands for a community center.
Library officials are expected to discuss with the Hampton Board of Selectmen on Monday a proposal for a new building at the site of the old Hampton District Court building, which was torn down recently. Library Director Amanda Reynolds Cooper said library staff have been asked numerous times about the possibility of an addition since the courthouse's razing, and Cooper said "the verbal support of the idea" led the library to believe that they should "get started sooner rather than later" on investigating an addition — an idea she said they've had since the last addition was made in 1985.
Ideas for the space are preliminary and design plans don't yet exist, although Cooper said the addition would either be built upon the courthouse lot and connected to the current 1910 library by an air bridge-style tunnel over Academy Avenue, or be built onto the existing building after Academy Avenue is rerouted around the site of the proposed addition.
A new structure would allow the library to expand its space for its Children's Room and its Senior Citizen Drop-In Center — both of which are currently located in the basement. Cooper said it would also give the library and the Hampton Recreation Department more than just one room for events and community-focused functions.
"The [current] room is flexible in what can be done with light [and] moveable furniture but we regularly turn people away because it is booked during the evening and weekend hours they would like," said Cooper in an e-mail, adding that in 2012 the library hosted 475 events in the building, 308 of which were run by the library and 167 of which were run by community members.
"Hampton has very little community space. We love being the place that people come to have Town Clock Committee meetings, Republican and Democrat Committee meetings, sell tickets for PTA sponsored events, and various health concern support groups. We’d like to be able to host more community events such as the Boys and Girls Scouts monthly meetings and really dislike turning people away along with the answer that there really isn’t anywhere else in Town from them to go. This addition would be a welcome space for people to meet for serious and recreational events."
Funding for the addition and the engineering work to formalize the plan would likely be secured through a fundraising campaign as well as through one or more town meeting warrant articles, according to Cooper.