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Manchester Voters Reject $12.5 Million Library Referendum, Approve $4.9 Million for School Repairs

Local voters appear to have rejected the Mary Cheney Library expansion, but approved $4.9 million in school repairs.

Although official numbers are still pending, it appeared late Tuesday night that Manchester voters resoundingly rejected a $12.5 million proposal to expand the Mary Cheney Library, while approving by an equally large margin $4.9 million in repairs for the town's public schools. 

Official numbers were still being tallied by the town's Registrar Office late Tuesday, but early reports from polling stations indicated that Manchester voters rejected the Mary Cheney Library expansion by an almost two-to-one margin, while the school repairs question also appears to have passed by an almost equal two-to-one margin. 

The $12.5 million Mary Cheney Library expansion would have seen the existing building expanded roughly 10,000-square feet into Center Memorial Park, but only takes up about 0.8 acres of the seven acre park. The Mary Cheney Library was built in 1937 and expanded in 1961, exempting it from the Americans With Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990. The renovation would also have made the library compliant with all ADA requirements. 

The $4.9 million in school repairs includes funds to replace the roofs at Bowers, Waddell and Verplanck elementary schools, electrical repairs at Manchester High School, and a number of other repairs that school administrators have deemed "critical." 

Stick with Patch as throughout Election Night as official numbers come in. 

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CHARLES SHEEN November 07, 2012 at 08:47 AM
Great news!
Joseph Hachey November 07, 2012 at 10:23 AM
We were all working for the same goal-a quality Library system in the right places. Now we need a genuine citizens' committee to rethink this subject. Sure, it's more work but our Town deserves great Libraries and Schools. Joe Hachey
Rudy Hrubala November 07, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Thank goodness common sense prevailed. I say we should build a new library at a new location and sell the library building to some entity that can make good use of it. Rudy Hrubala
A Connecticut Hale November 07, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I agree we should revisit this issue. I have no problem with spending some money to remodel/refurbish the existing building, but why would you expand the building in this day and age when more and more books are becoming electronic and newspapers and magazines are also going out of print?
F. Harris November 07, 2012 at 01:50 PM
What about using the empty eyesore on Broad Street? What happened to all the plans for that area?
Lynn 860-819-1001 November 07, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I am happy to hear that the library referendum was voted down. What this town needs to realize is that there are people in this town that don't have food to put on their tables. That don't have adequate housing. I suggest that the people that sit on the Board of Directors in this town go to the food share locations and see how many people are in line. To me it is devastating. And yet the taxes keep going up, and they want us to spend millions of dollars on a library. The priority in this town should be the people, not a building. With all of the people using electronic devices for reading, libraries are not being used like they used to. Also, I would ask the people that sit on the Board of Directors go to the library and see just how many of the people that are in there are homeless people that just use it for shelter. I have nothing against the children having warm stable schools, but didn't I just hear that the Manchester schools just got a sizable grant?
Ed Slegeski November 07, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Rudy, Let's not build, Let's use what we have and make it better. Keep the Parkade on the tax roles! I have pitched this idea to Mr Hachey as well, and written an editorial in the JI. Maybe it's time to look at the vacant building behind the Little Theatre of Manchester. It has plenty of room, and large enough to make it a destination place in Manchester with a high tech meeting room, classrooms, and yes, even a food court! (ala Borders and Books), within walking distance from huge Apartment complex. Right on a bus or trolley route (are you listening Manchester 2020), close to hi-way access! I haven't seen a lot of people clammering to buy the building, plenty of parking and extra shared parking with Little Theatre of Manchester. Keep the name, and call the area the "Mary Cheney Historical and Cultural district" bounded by the Little Theatre of Manchester, The Firehouse, the Machester Museum, The Chamber of Commerce, and finally the "Great Lawn" which is never used. What goes into the then vacated Library?.....What about the Lutz Museum which is also an undersized and over utilized building. It would be in the Center of town, on a bus or trolly route, (are you listening Manchester 2020)?
mary November 07, 2012 at 04:39 PM
A library is more than just a place to get books---it's a community hub, as well as an educational resource for young people and a safe space for them to congregate. Cheney is small and outdated. Check out some of the other libraries nearby and you can see the difference. I'm very sad that the town decided to not invest in this important resource. A new study by Pew Research finds that young people are heavy users of libraries, even in this 'digital age'. http://tinyurl.com/ap3u9am. But apparently people in this town care far more about close parking and paying a few extra dollars of taxes than they do about their community. I also think it makes Manchester look relatively less appealing to prospective new residents which is something that should be of concern to people who want to maintain a stable tax base (ie. if people move away or don't move in because we have inadequate public facilities then we might all end up paying more in taxes anyway!).
nicholas Rickert November 07, 2012 at 05:08 PM
For anyone who has been to the Manchester libraries you would know off the bat that we need money to fix them. I voted no because I honestly believe it could have been done for ALOT less then 12.5 mil. As for that dump of a park next to the librarie... yeah I could care less if it was gone, its nothing but an eye sore that i wish I didnt have to see every day.
tina chandler November 08, 2012 at 06:47 AM
my husband and i voted no for both projects why? were fed up with our property tax increses every few years .we spend as much on town taxes as we do on mortgage payments every month.after we retire in ten more years .....bye bye to connecticut and all your taxes !!!!!!!!!!!! the middle worker class never gets a break. good luck
Lynn 860-819-1001 November 08, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I am in total agreement with you. I went to the town about my car taxes never going down. I have a ten yr. old car, and my taxes keep going up. I told them about my recent hardship, and they told me I could appeal. So, I did. I went to the town on a Saturday, they inspected my car, and guess what? They INCREASED the value of my car, which in turn, of course increased my taxes.....which by the way are supposed to be due immediately. I am not giving up, I will appeal again in March, only this time I will go in with more information than I had the last time. I used to own my own home here for years, and for my little tiny house on an extremely busy street my taxes were $2000.00 a year, that was six yrs. ago. I then moved to Arizona where I owned a much larger and much more modern and much nicer house, and my taxes were $800.00. Why did I move back? I honestly don't know.

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