Details of next month's Special Town Meeting warrant, which includes approving the purchase of land for a new McAuliffe Branch Library and eco-friendly upkeep at Stapleton Elementary, were hammered out by Selectmen this week.
As the first step in a complicated process of building a new branch library, the purchase and sale of the land would remain contingent upon receipt of a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
According to Heather Kingsbury of Town Counsel's Office, although the final numbers are not in yet, the town will not be asked to approve more than $700,000 for the purchase of the land at the Jan. 12 Special Town Meeting.
If the land purchase is approved at Special Town Meeting, Library Trustees are closer to ensuring Framingham will receive the state grant, which will cover half of the estimated $6.8 million construction cost.
The Library Board of Trustees have chosen a site 732-746 Water Street for development and construction. This new location will position the library in the Nobscot area of town and the preliminary designs for the building include 17,000 square feet of space.
Approval of the purchase price for the new site does not mean the town is committed to a build, said Chairman of the Library Board of Trustees Ruth Winett.
"Nothing is cast in stone until we have the funding," said Winett. At the 2011 Annual Town Meeting next fall, officials will be asked to approve the town's share of funding for construction if the grant is awarded.
In order to ensure a fair price for the purchase of the land, town officials have hired a private assessor.
Unfortunately, that number will not be available until after the warrant is printed, but just before the Special Town Meeting.
"Frankly, I think that's asking an awful lot of Town Meeting," said Town Moderator Ed Noonan. "You're asking Town Meeting to look at this and react ... I'm not sure how favorably that will be met."
Kingsbury said the Town Counsel and the library trustees have tried their best to expedite the process while working within the time constraints of the grant application.
If the Special Town Meeting was delayed, until the first draft of the warrant reflects the exact purchase price, the town risks losing the grant.
Kingsbury assured Selectman, the town will not be asked to approve more than $750,000. The asking price is $739,800.
As a requirement for the grant, Library Trustees also are asking the town to approve a second article for the preliminary design for the new building, which will "give the town the change to look at what this library might be," said Winett.
Another article appearing on the Special Town meeting warrant is requesting approval of new windows and doors at Stapleton Elementary, for which the town will also be heavily reimbursed.
Matthew Torti, director of building and grounds, said the state will reimburse the town nearly 58 percent of the cost of new energy-efficient doors and windows.
Through the Massachusetts State Building Association's green repair project, Stapleton can receive over $1 million worth of upgrades at a cost of $430,000 to Framingham.