My husband and I are active users of the Jones Library. Everyone we know appears to agree that this historic building needs to be renovated and upgraded, not demolished.
Tearing down significant portions of the existing building and constructing a huge new facility is based on a preference, not a need. I strongly oppose demolishing more than 40% of the current building, including all of the ADA compliant 1993 brick addition (the loans for which were just paid off), significant parts of the historic 1928 structure, and the Kinsey Memorial Garden which is graced by a canopy of mature trees behind the library.
The proposed demolition /construction is not a green effort. We should be planning a building for the realities of climate change in the 21st century rather than dumping a huge amount of material in the landfill.
The Town of Amherst has a number of capital projects on the drawing board in the near future, which will require enormous expenditures of money and possible increases in taxes. Renovating the library makes much more sense than expanding it.
Our Town representatives, should take these considerations among others into account.
Mary Hoyer is an educator and community activist affiliated with the Hartford Public Schools, the Co-op Fund of New England, the Union Co-ops Council of the US Federation of Worker Co-ops, and the Wellspring Co-op Corporation. She has lived in Amherst since 2004, and has an Ed.D. from UMass Amherst.