Mayor Augustyn and the Maple Acre Advisory Committee are seeking public feedback surrounding the proposed design for the Maple Acre Library addition and refurbishment. An open house will be held TODAY, Wednesday, January 13 from 4:00-8:00pm at Pelham Fire Station #2 (766 Welland Road, Fenwick), where M/2 Group Inc. will display their design.

The Maple Acre Library Branch was on the verge of closing in 2012 after running a $60,000 deficit, and a consulting company recommended a reduction in services. However, after consulting with local residents, Council resolved to maintain a full-service facility and approved a $1 million budget for a design/ build project intended to revitalize the structure.

Last month, many residents expressed concern with the proposed designs, which show a modern looking square, flat-roofed building next to the Carnegie-style original structure. A number of those who have been involved in the process over the past year were deeply confused by the proposal, which appears to ignore the community’s stated desire that the addition complement the existing structure.

“It doesn’t blend with the rest of the village,” stated one resident at a meeting in December.

In the Request for Proposal released in July, the Town called for “a modern historic architectural design,” wherein “the existing 1919 building should reflect the original historic design and the addition will incorporate a modern architectural design. The result is a recognizable contrast and blend between new and old.”

M/2 Group Inc., claims they have met those design requirements as outlined by the Town, and that therefore the Town would have to pay for another design. They further state that “the design responds to the character of Fenwick historic buildings by using a similar material palette, if not form.”

Council denied a request for extra funding in early December, citing fears that such a decision would lead to slippery slope of ever-increasing costs.