A balanced and responsible proposal to restore, renovate and repurpose the Old Library and the Josiah Smith Tavern for the benefit of Weston residents:
These two important and historic buildings at the entryway to our Town have been virtually idle for years. It's high time to make them part of the Town's fabric again.
The Selectmen have tasked a "Working Group" to study a way to bring these buildings back to life, and to make a recommendation for an article at a future Town Meeting. The basic objective of this project is to propose to the Working Group a way to renovate and restore and reuse the two buildings so as to serve as many of the Town's interested parties as possible, and to maximize the chance of successful approval at Town Meeting.
We accomodate the preferences of the following:
1. The many people who would like a friendly, intimate and elegant restaurant close by to bring their friends for drinks and good food.
2. The LIbrary's "Art and Innovation Center" and the Media Center who seek locations in close proximity to each other..
2. The current users, the Weston Historical Society and the Women's Community League, and other non-profits like the Weston Forest and Trail Association.
3. The views expressed in the Town survey for art and cultural spaces and a modestly priced restaurant
4. The abutters, especially St. Julla's Church who prefer a small restaurant with limited parking impact.
5. The Town. for a financially self-sustaining project
6. The taxpayers. There will be no added tax-burden, since the construction is financed from Community Preservation Act funds, already reserved and partially matched by the State
The proposal has the following elements:
1. Include both buildings in a single project, but consider an option of doing it in two phases, with the Old Library as phase one. The project will be managed by Weston Civic Center LLC, a company overseen by a volunteer Board of respected Weston residents whose only interest is the benefit to the Town.
2. Repair, restore and bring up to current code all of the functional systems so as to provide full and safe public access. (this is the largest cost element, but CPA funds are available to pay for it, so no new taxes needed)
3. In the Old Library provide for an 80 seat, professionally run, intimate, warm and elegant restaurant in the "Stacks" section, open 6 days a week for dinner and eventually lunch.
Make most of the Old Library's historic reading room into an Art Gallery space, adjacent to the restaurant.
4. Provide for active use of the Tavern with the "Art and Innovation Center" operated by the Library in the Connector and the Media Center in the highly visible location in the Barn.
5. The Ballroom in the Tavern Building will be available for art and cultural events, lectures and other uses.
6. Offer remaining spaces in the Tavern and the Old Library to non-profit or private organisations as offices or commercial space at modest rent.
7. Ensure that there will be no ongoing costs to the Taxpayers and some contribution to the Town in lieu of taxes
While we tried to meet the preferences of the Town and the current tenants as we understood them, we want to hear from you, so that we can change, modify, and adapt our proposal as needed to serve the Town's interests.
Would you like to see a small restaruant in the Old Library where you can meet with friends over a nice meal and a bottle of wine?
Click on the link below and tell us what you think.
The Town of Weston will do the renovation and restoration to update all systems and provide full public access, and make the spaces suitable for buildout by the restaurant and other tenants. There will be a non-profit "Weston Civic Center LLC" organization to operate the Civic Center and build on the endowment left by the Jones sisters when they donated the Tavern. This fund is managed by the Town, but is dedicated to the upkeep of the Josiah Smith Tavern. The income from the restaurant, the office spaces and the interest on the current endowment will be sufficient to cover all operating costs near term but building up the Endowment Fund will serve as a cushion against the unexpected, and the interest from it will help build a reserve for replacement and major manintenance in the future.