ADAMS -- Austin Design Inc, of Colrain, will helm designing future improvements to the Adams Free Library, Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said at a recent Selectmen's meeting.
"The town has not worked with Austin before, but they came with a great concept and have a great portfolio of similar projects they've done in other municipalities," Butler said. "We thought it'd be good to bring somebody new to work with. Anytime you get an opportunity to bring in another company, it's helpful for variety."
Masonry work, roof repairs and an entirely revamped and accessible entryway make up the scope of work desired for the building. The structure is more than a century old and was initially intended as a Civil War Memorial. The town allotted $75,000 to cover the cost of putting an engineer to work on the project in its fiscal 2013 budget.
Butler said he'd like Austin to deliver "several projects that are essentially shovel-ready," so that the town might later use these designs to lobby for state and federal dollars to pay for the project.
"A lot of times the first big step is just getting shovel-ready so that if [funding sources] become available, you're in position to capitalize."
Library trustees enter the conversation next week, as Butler and a selectman will attend their scheduled meeting seeking input. They'll be involved periodically throughout the planning process, Butler said.
"We're ecstatic," James Loughman, chair of the library trustees said. "It's been slow in coming. The town has talked about renovations to the building since I've been on the board, which is more than 10 years, and probably before. But it appears to be coming slow and steady now so we're pleased."
Total cost is expected to well exceed $1 million.
"The town's looking at a large investment," Butler said, "but we have the ball rolling."
In other business at Wednesday's meeting, Selectmen's Chair Arthur "Skip" Harrington made a request for data to inform the crafting of the town's future parking policies.
"We're at a point in our town's history where things are about to move along pretty well, I anticipate a lot of change coming" Harrington said. "I think we really ought to take a look at our parking meter, parking lot policies."
In past discussions, Butler has advocated for entirely free parking as a potential boon for the town.
He suggested a board be organized involving town employees -- of the Community Development office, the Department of Public Works and the Police Department -- and officials to compile facts on the topic that can then be presented to the public.
Butler said he thinks "writing more tickets" -- apparently a common suggestion -- may not be the answer.
"It's not the simple," he said. "We could write more tickets, maybe, and collect a slightly higher percentage of revenue, but I think the suspicion that some of us have internally that write the budgets and know where the dollars go and the time and the effort that goes into having a metered system ... we're concerned the cost far exceeds the revenue brought in."
A meeting or workshop on the subject should be held in the near future, the board agreed.
To reach Phil Demers, email