Penelope Kim: Fixing what is broken

  • The M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury center. file photo

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

As a personal philosophy, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” has its usefulness — until it doesn’t.

Take for example, your aging car. At first a few parts fail. You fix them. One day it is no longer cost effective to repair. You rely on your car. You take out a loan to replace it. The cost falls on you, the car owner.

As a municipal philosophy, “If it ain’t broke” has different ramifications. Take for example, the 900-square-foot Shutesbury Library built in 1902. At first, parts failed to meet standards. For example, the library has no running water and is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Then programming expanded and demand grew. The town relies on its library. It needs replacing. The cost is shared by the community. We are poised to build a library that will be energy efficient and will serve as a community hub well into the future. By having put off this project, first brought to a vote 10 years ago, the price tag doubled.

However, our town can utilize some municipal-size resources. We have an extraordinary opportunity: a $4 million state grant has gotten us 60% of the way. Fundraising, the cost of the land, and annual appropriations at town meetings total the current local match in hand of $625,000.

Now our community has to vote to get us the rest of the way to our solution. A “Yes” vote on May 21 at annual Town Meeting and a “Yes” vote for a tax override is the way to fix what is broke.

Penelope Kim