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Vote YES – Let’s Save the Library and the Park – It’s a Win Win Proposal

A modern library in Center Memorial Park can be had at the minimal expense of .08 of an acre of green space.

A referendum vote will be held on election day on the proposal to expand Mary Cheney Library into Center Memorial Park. The most recent design requires the net conversion of only .08 of an acre of the Park’s seven acres, much less than the original plans. The alarm raised by opponents that the  park will be “ravished,” “destroyed,” “paved” – misleading at best – is now moot.

The plan is a win for both sides. While giving up a bit of the Park’s green space may still be a concern for some, it might help to know that Manchester has over 1,000 acres of parkland. The Cheney  “Great Lawn” being the most recent addition. Giving up a minuscule slice of green space for the sake of a modern library in this central location is a wise compromise. 

Another argument put forth against expansion in the park is that the Cheney family established the Park and wanted the area preserved as a park forever. That’s true, but they also promoted building the Library in that same park back in the 1930's. The original deed allows for additional municipal buildings in the northern part of the Park. Perhaps the Cheneys understood that one day the library would have to be updated and expanded.

The Cheneys promoted learning and community through their support of libraries and schools. Mary Cheney was a state of the art library in its time, but is no longer. They would be the first to demand a modernized library in the center of town.  

Out of respect for our history, tradition, practicality and economics, the Mary Cheney Library needs to stay where it is – in Center Memorial Park. The library is as much a  centerpiece of our downtown as is the Park. Both are important to our community. The library is  an icon on Main Street and a symbol of our thirst for knowledge.  It is popular with adults and children of all ages. It has the fourth highest circulation in the State – 1,000 people visit the library on the average day. That’s incredible. 1,000 people descend on the Main Street daily! That’s good for the community and good for business.

Jacinda Woodhead (Australian writer) wrote: “Libraries are not just warehouses that hold books. Libraries are hubs of learning and research, of interactivity and community – and this is what we have an obligation to preserve. How many free, comfortable places can one still go to to study? How many communal spaces are there in which learning, exploration and reading are fostered?”

Opponents cite the changing nature of libraries over time, pleading for more studies. But this issue has been discussed for more than a decade.  All the studies show that Mary Cheney Library is outdated, lacks handicapped accessibility and is in need of additional space for new library functions. After years of debate, it's time to move forward on this project. It will benefit thousands of our citizens of all ages. Plus, we get to keep the Park!

I encourage Manchester voters to vote “YES” on the library referendum.

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Terry Parla October 06, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Center Memorial Park is the town green of Manchester. We can not afford to give up one inch of this park. This park is as important to Manchester as Central Park is to New Yorkers. Parking will always be a big problem at this site and will not be solved by asking people to cross Center St to come to the library. Also is the tearing down of the Youth Center building and the lights and crosswalks included in the 12.5 cost of this addition. This is a bad plan lets work for a good plan when times are better. For our children and grandchildrens sake vote no on question one and yes for question two for our schools.
Denise lheurex October 08, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Denise L'Heuruex I agree Malcolm and will vote NO. Also, the parking for the new addition is right next to the firehouse across Center Streeet which mant people do not know. Many people will stop coming to Main Street since it will be so congested at the top and not safe. There is a better way. Save the park for aour veterans and find a better solution.
Cindy Lea October 09, 2012 at 06:10 PM
This is not an issue about supporting the library or not. It's about putting a better plan on the table. This is too much money to spend when our schools are falling apart. The referendums will be coming to update the schools in the next few years. Fix our schools first and then address this issue. Do you really think any parent wants to cross busy Center Street with a child? I don't think so. Save the Park and VOTE NO.
Pam Brannick October 30, 2012 at 07:28 PM
If part of the reason for current construction on Broad Street is to bring people to the area, why not consider reusing some of the vacant space in the "Shaw's" strip? Parking would not be a problem.
Greg October 30, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Vote yes and help better meet the needs or our residents who make this such a busy resource for our town. While the park is a resource it is a little visited and used resource for the vast majority of Manchester residents. As a native of Manchester I have seen many changes in over 60 years and every change had its opponents and proponents and this is no different. End of the day what is best for the majority of town folks prevails. We will see on November 6th what the majority wants.

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