The Town of Poland and the Kennedy Free Library formed a joint committee in March 2010 to investigate a shared-service project to upgrade the town building and increase the size of the library that currently occupies the ground floor.
Over the past 10 years the town and the library had looked separately as well as jointly into various scenarios including building a new structure that would house both the library and town hall or separate buildings. Taking everything in consideration "Building on the Past For the Future," is the theme that made the most sense. The popular term "Smart Growth" emphasizes the fiscal responsibility of utilizing current buildings when possible rather than abandoning them, leaving an eyesore for the community to deal with or experience the outrageous expense of razing the site.
The Town of Poland and community has a rich and interesting history. The fantastic involvement of community members in the 2005 bicentennial celebration demonstrates that this is important to the residents of our area. Keeping this fact in mind, the committee plans to restore many of the architectural features of this historic building at the same time enhance this facility to become a community center that will serve us well into the future.
The current town hall and library building is a strong and solid structure originally built in 1916 as a schoolhouse. It has been maintained well but has had very few improvements. It is now time to update the infrastructure of the building to provide long over due handicap access, insure codes compliance and update systems with an emphasis on energy efficiency.
Another goal of the project is to expand the space available for the library which will allow for an expansion of programs and features that will be available to residents of all ages. The plans also allow for additional space in the town hall for use by community organizations.
The building project, improving the shared facility, means there will be two separate sources of funding. The Kennedy Library will receive funding via the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System resources, grants and fundraising. The town hall portion of the project will be funded by municipal funds from bond issue, grants, and fundraising.
As the project progresses the committee will be holding informational meetings with various community organizations and the public before we bring it to the residents of the Town of Poland for a vote on a proposition to undertake the project. If you have an interest, watch for future times, dates and places of these meetings.
The Town of Poland Building Committee members are Sandy Tompsett, Kathy Stanton, Denny Stornes, Tim Mead and Kathleen Johnson.