Library Board Set To Seek Construction Bids In September

The Franklin Township Public Library Board of Trustees voted August 25 to prepare to receive bids for a new library branch in September.

The Board also made decisions on suggested modifications to the new branch from the Planning Board and the Environmental Commission.

The 5,580-square-foot building is targeted for a 2.3-acre plot of land adjacent to Franklin Park School. The Board has long sought a site to replace the small branch located in a storefront space at the Franklin Towne Center shopping plaza.

The plan has caused some controversy among some neighbors of the site who say building it will destroy natural habitat and cause increased traffic in the neighborhood.

One of the Planning Board’s suggestions – initiated by Councilman Ted Chase – was for the library board to see if the Township Council would approve building a sidewalk from the site out to Claremont Road.

Related: Planning Board Reviews Library Branch Plan, Makes Recommendations

Mayor Phil Kramer told the board trustees that the township had already settled on a sidewalk plan for the township, and that its emphasis is on providing sidewalks around schools so students can walk safely to their schools.

But he didn’t totally discount the idea.

“My general feeling on sidewalks is the town builds sidewalks, not libraries,” he said. “Sometimes we have to take down trees, sometimes we have to even buy land from people.

“It would be a nice gesture if the library were to commit X amount of dollars to the project, but that’s up to the board,” Kramer said. “It would not be a library project, but maybe they can contribute to it.”

One recommendation from the township Environmental Commission was that the library include in the design charging stations for electric cars.

That idea was somewhat adopted.

Board chairman Nicholas Ciampi said that after a discussion with a township electrical code inspector, he felt that the Board should provide “minimal readiness” because “the status of charging electric vehicles and their chargers is evolving all the time.”

Ciampi’s recommendation, to which the Board acceded, was to bury PVC piping under the building, from the electrical box to the parking lot, “where a future charging station or two would be located.”

The Environmental Commission also recommended a second bicycle rack on the property, but January Adams, the head librarian, said that people rarely use the bike rack at the main branch in the municipal complex.

“I suspect having one bicycle rack is enough,” she said.

“Well, leave room for one more,” Kramer said.

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