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The results of the vote came in Tuesday night and Article One did not pass. Out of 494 residents who voted on the issue, 205 voted in favor and 289 voted against. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I think this a good thing- the right decision.

Official results of the Pawlet March 2020 Vote

But I think it would be wrong to say I’m “happy” about it. I can’t be happy about it, when clearly problems at the library exist, and a way forward to fix them has yet to be identified. The most pressing problems being:

  • falling snow and ice on all sides of the building, both in front where cars are parked, and in back where the handicapped access ramp is
  • the concrete front steps are crumbling and need to be replaced

Lastly, we know the handicapped access at the library is currently in compliance. But recent conversations have raised the very important, and more complicated question: is the existing handicapped access at the library sufficient?

In historic buildings like the library, where handicapped access is always going to be a compromise with issues of preservation, it is common for a handicapped access expert to be brought in to make an assessment.

This should have been done at the beginning, of course, before an architect was hired by the Select Board and thousands of dollars spent on a plan that will, in all likelihood, never be used. But it’s never too late to do things right. It is what we, as a community owe to anyone who ever has or ever will need handicapped access- and as we all know that could be any one of us.

If you think this is a good idea, please send a note to the Select Board via the town clerk – pawletclerk@vermontel.net- and tell them we need a handicapped accessibility assessment of the library done- as soon as is possible. Or call: 325-3309, ext.301. Or tell a selectman in person when you see them. This is, I think, the best way to show our love for the library, and our fellow townspeople, and get back on the right track after going down a dead end for far too long.