POLL RESULTS: Town Split on sale of Kidder Library
At the special Milton Town Meeting on Monday, February 25, Town Meeting Members will vote on the transfer of the Kidder Library property (article 2).
We asked the town: “Do you think the Kidder Library should be transferred to the Trustees of the Milton Public Library in order to be sold?”
Yes, the Kidder Library should be sold: 50.9%
No, the Kidder Library should not be sold: 49.1%
Milton Neighbors had varied comments on the sale of the library, including:
“The decision is really under the purview of the Library Trustees and they have made a responsible and defensible decision.”
The Kidder Library and the East Milton library are valuable real estate that the town may need in the future.”
“This was an endowment to the Citizens of Milton from the Kidder family. It belongs to the town and citizens of Milton. Milton should save this beautiful building from demolition and take responsibility for this legacy. It can serve other town or Community uses. It requires an investment, which, I believe, is worthy and right. The citizens of Milton should not be losing what belongs to them.”
“The building is a drain on library finances and should be put to better use by a private entity.”
“I think it should be the new home for an Early Learning Center for the Town. All K1 MPS students can attend there for the District.”
“…Unless parcel could be used by the Fire Department.”
“The library should not have to maintain a building it does not use. Nor should it subsidize another organization (pre-school) that pays below-market-value rent. No town organization has expressed any interest in taking over the building.”
“The new firehouse should be built there.”
“Definitely NOT! MECA/Early childhood education & affordable child care serves the town!!! Other uses that serve Milton residents would also be considered appropriate and preferable uses. I am a TMM and this is what I’ve heard from my neighbors too!”
The text of Article 2 reads:
To see if the Town will vote to transfer the former Kidder Branch Library property at 101 Blue Hills Parkway from the Trustees of the Milton Public Library for library purposes to the Trustees of the Milton Public Library for the purpose of sale of said property, and further, to authorize the Trustees of the Milton Public Library to sell said property for such consideration and upon such terms as the Trustees of the Public Library deem appropriate;
and to act on anything relating thereto.
Submitted by the Trustees of the Milton Public Library
…that the Town vote to transfer the former Kidder Branch Library property at 101 Blue Hills Parkway from the Trustees of the Milton Public Library for library purposes to the Trustees of the Milton Public Library for the purpose of sale of said property, and further, to authorize the Trustees of the Milton Public Library to sell said property for such consideration and upon such terms as the Trustees of the Public
Library deem appropriate.
This article was brought forward by the Trustees of the Public Library to allow the Trustees to sell the former Kidder Branch Library property, located at 101 Blue Hill Parkway, that has housed a preschool since 2009 and is currently not used for library purposes. This property was deeded to the Town in 1928 by the Kidder House Association for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Town and the library branch was built in 1929. The land is located in a residence C Zoning District. The Kidder Library has not been used for its original purpose since 1996 and underwent renovations from 2007-2009, however, more extensive renovations would be needed for this structure to be utilized by the town.
The Trustees, beginning in 2015, started looking to sell property and hosted numerous Town departments to determine if there was interest from them and they also held multiple public forums for the community to offer input. The Town departments, including the school administration, have determined they cannot use the building for any current projects.
The property has been appraised at $1.2 million per the Trustees and their goal is to utilize this money for other library projects. It is important to note that with the sale, the Trustees must put the proceeds into a trust and may only use the interest (estimated at $30,000 annually) for proper public library purposes, per the deed and a Final Decree of the Massachusetts Judicial Court.
The property is a drain on the Trustees, who are currently acting as a landlord and the buildings current use does not further the mission of the library. Any renovations needed to fully utilize this building are above the annual income received and would require additional funding from the Town. However, this is a Town resource and quite possibly the last of the larger land gifts to the Town from one of its residents.
This article was discussed at length at the Warrant Committee with many questions raised about who it could be sold to, whether it could be used for another function for the Town and whether this resource should be sold at all.
The vote showed how difficult the decision was to many on the committee in order to determine the best resolution for this article: 7 voted in favor, 5 against, and it should be noted that there were 2 absentees from the committee and the Chair did not vote.