Passers-by may have noticed some additional action at the Monroe Free Library recently.
The staff has been busy filling up a Dumpster with lots of old junk and unusable items from the little white building next door at 40 Millpond Parkway.
Monroe Free Library purchased the former dental office property in 2006 and, besides providing storage, the structure served for a time a as much-loved community resource, the Friends of the Library’s Book Garden.
Plans to reopen that have been shelved. Number 40 is in serious disrepair and needs to be demolished.
Asbestos, a leaking roof, collapsing ceilings, a crumbling foundation and cracked walls all add up to unsafe conditions for reviving either the Book Garden or the building itself.
“The library used foresight when it acquired the property at 40 (Millpond Parkway),” said MFL Board President Patricia Shanley. “It expected community needs would grow and with it the library’s footprint. While there aren’t any immediate plans to build, the demolition of the building is a step forward. We felt strongly that it had to go as it has become dangerous and an eyesore.”
So, the library’s Board of Trustees made it official on Sept. 14 — contractors were chosen and the little white building will be taken down this month.
The project is already underway; staff has been working to move the remaining items to a temporary storage unit, and people may also notice the flag pole has been moved. United Site Services is installing a construction safety fence around the property this week.
After these initial steps, the asbestos needs to be dealt with separately and safely, so High Ground Industrial and air quality monitoring company GEO Environmental will be on site to deal with all of that before demolition.
Once the necessary certificates and permits from various entities are in hand, the building will be demolished.
“In 2021 we will be working on our Five-Year Plan,” Shanley said, “and looking for active input from our patrons and all constituencies in town. We want your vision of how the library can provide you enhanced services with this property.
“Plans for the future of the new space are uncertain and will depend in part on public input next year through focus groups and surveys to determine how MFL can best use the property to meet the community’s needs. Until then, we can look forward to a nice green lawn space in the spring.”