In Amherst, here we go again

Posted: 08/21/2022 17:03:44 Modified: 08/21/2022 17:00:12 It’s the Amherst Way – when you don’t like a decision, go out of your way...

Posted: 08/21/2022 17:03:44

Modified: 08/21/2022 17:00:12

It’s the Amherst Way – when you don’t like a decision, go out of your way to review, study again and again, and again and again, and procrastinate until you end up with… inflation 40% costs because of the delay.

Jeff Lee’s guest column about the Jones library construction project (“Public libraries are losing books and losing visitors – why are we expanding them?” August 17) is the same old, same old that got us into the mess we we find now, and only suggests that the problem will be passed on to the next generation, in spades.

His equation between borrowing books and building size reveals how little he knows about what Jones is doing. The reason libraries across the state are growing is because residents now appreciate how much libraries contribute to the health of their communities in addition to lending books.

The Jones Library is – and has been since its construction in 1928 – the center of our community, an essential part of the infrastructure that makes our community what it is. Jones meeting rooms are used more than 1,000 times a year. Some 16,000 hours of ESL tutoring are provided each year in the building. Computers are used more than 25,000 times a year by people who would otherwise not have access to this essential tool of modern life and work. Our heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is beyond repair, leaking on an irreplaceable special collection that attracts more than 600 visitors each year. When all of these guests visit the building, they also eat at our restaurants, stay at our hostels, and otherwise contribute to our local economy.

We can solve the problem of this tsunami of building cost inflation that happens once every 100 years, just as our 12-year planning process solved the other problems with the state of the current Jones building. . Amherst residents have chosen to raise public and private funds for an expanded, flexible, welcoming and climate-friendly building that also restores vital aspects of the original 1928 structure.

Thanks to our strong fundraising campaign, we can meet this financial challenge without affecting our city’s ability to complete the other major capital projects it needs; abandoning the library project will not, I repeat, provide additional funds for these other projects. Urgent safety repairs and required accessibility modifications will cost more than the city’s commitment to the proposed project, a commitment approved by city council and 65% of voters last year. The cost of any other alternative has risen just as dramatically.

Further delays will only increase the cost of each project, making them all less likely. So unless Mr. Lee wants to stop all capital projects in their tracks, the prudent financial choice is to roll up our collective sleeves and carry on.

Lee Edwards and Kent W. Faerber co-chair the Jones Library Capital Campaign.

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Newsrust - US Top News: In Amherst, here we go again
In Amherst, here we go again
Newsrust - US Top News
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