[Editor’s Note: The following is a statement written by Ron Suresha, chairman of the Town of New Milford’s Historic Properties Commission, on behalf of the commission.]

The Town of New Milford’s Historic Properties Commission (NMHPC) unanimously supports the expansion of the New Milford Public Library, declaring it is long overdue.

At a vote taken by NMHPC at its monthly meeting Sept. 25, 2018, the result revealed unanimous and enthusiastic support for the library’s renovation.

Additionally, members expressed the view that the commission ask registered voters to vote “yes” on the referendum that will be printed on the ballot at the general election Nov. 6 to enact the library’s expansion.

The town’s Historic Properties Commission is charged with the purpose of promoting, preserving, and protecting buildings that are places of historic and cultural significance and their settings within the historic district of the town.

In adhering to that mandate, the commission reviewed the architectural drawings and the costs and payment plans to support the library renovation and found that the pleasing design would enhance the Village Green and provide the necessary space to meet the requirements of a library in the digital age.

All were impressed that the footprint of the library will not change, meaning no additional land will be used to expand the exterior of the library.

What will change is the front entrance. The slope will be re-graded so that guests enter the building at the same level as the sidewalk. Once inside, visitors will have access to an elevator just within the entrance to carry them to any and all levels of the building.

As it has been 40 years since our library was renovated, NMHPC’s members were delighted to see how well the new center entrance area blends the two buildings it joins.

The new exterior surface will join the 1796 building on the corner of Whittlesey Avenue facing the Green with the addition built in the 1970s.

The building’s appearance from the street will not show a measurable difference in height between the buildings as it does now. By using color and material, the three structures will become one, instead of looking as if they were cobbled together.

The final item brought forth roars of delight from the committee members as they learned that 15,000 visitors come to our library every month.

That’s 180,000 people annually. Your Town Historic Properties Commission’s final recommendation is that every registered voter visit the library and obtain a library card. They’re free, but can open up many new worlds to you.