By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
MEREDITH — A week after the Board of Trustees of the Meredith Public Library voted to leave the Benjamin M. Smith Memorial Library, a panel charged with selecting a site Tuesday appeared to question the vote to move to a new location in its report to the Library Planning Committee.
The panel wrote "we must be absolutely sure the public approves the abandonment of this historic town facility" and continued, in italics for emphasis "Before that decision can be openly and transparently made, we need a robust dialogue on whether to abandon the present site and a reliable quantitative measure of what the public wants."
Meanwhile, Duncan McNeish said that four criteria were applied to prospective sites for a new single-level library. The lot should between three and four acres in size with frontage on one or more major thoroughfares with prominent visibility. In addition, the panel sought a property within easy reach of Meredith Center.
The panel recommended three properties in order of preference — one on Barnard Ridge Road, another on Plymouth Street and a third, known as the Robertson property, at the southwest corner of the roundabout between US Route 3 and Parade Road.
A number of sites were considered only to be eliminated as either too small or too distant from the town center. These included the former home of Aubuchon Hardware at the junction of US Route 3 and NH Route 25, the Lang Street School, the Orthopedic Clinic at NH Route 4 and Winona Road the former Department of Public Works on Daniel Webster Highway and lots on on Upper Ladd Hill Road and Jenness Hill Road.
The Planning Committee will meet again on Tuesday, May 31, to further consider the panel's report.
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