By ANN BELCHER
BROCTON - Brocton's Ahira Hall Library could be on the move.
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
Pictured is the Ahira Library on Route 20, Brocton.
Portland Town Attorney Charles Loveland approached the town council during the monthly meeting on behalf of Julie Morrison-Putcher, library manager, to ask whether the council would consider joining a declaratory judgment action with the library that would eventually allow the physical building to be moved west on Route 20.
Much the same way the Captain Storms House was physically relocated in Westfield around 10 years ago, the library entity would like to see its building moved to a more spacious spot on Main Street where there would be surrounding room to renovate and expand the library.
The library building was officially dedicated in 1905 and belongs to the town, but is occupied by the library.
"The land that would be left behind is itself the question," explained Loveland.
"Would it go back to the heirs or could it be continued on in use as a park for the community?"
With no square footage surrounding the library, which sits next the Green Arch Restaurant, there is little opportunity for the building to grow.
"Currently there is no room to expand, and there's no way to use the building's basement to add on. Their plans include a reading room as well as completions made to the basement. There would be no costs associated with filing fees, but it would need approval by the council to join the action," Loveland added.
Council members asked why a judgment action is required and Loveland explained because the library entity has family corporate owners, a question remains as to who really owns the building and who can decide to physically remove it, relocate it, and allow it to continue operation as a public library.
"The group doesn't want to apply for grants until complete publication was made to the surviving heirs of the families involved," added Loveland.
The council voted to join in the action, for which Morrison-Putcher thanked them. She reported in her average shift working at the library, she saw almost 70 patrons in and out of the small public library.
"I'd like to thank the council and will keep all of you posted on the progress," stated Morrison-Putcher.
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