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New Milton library plan unveiled


Residents voice approval, traffic concerns



milton_library_Exterior
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The new Milton library is a 25,000-square-foot building essentially divided into two. To the left are the books and main library space. To the right is a community meeting space. (click for larger version)

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Milton residents had their first look at the new library March 14. While community reaction was generally positive to the design, there was much concern over traffic. Residents Shaun and Wandy Virgo discuss the concept plan with library officials. JONATHAN COPSEY. (click for larger version)

milton_library_exterior
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(click for larger version)
March 18, 2013
MILTON, Ga. – March 14 was the "big reveal" of Milton's first library, said County Commissioner Liz Hausmann.

Residents were able to see plans for the new 25,000-square-foot building that will be placed on the old Dinsmore Farm, at the corner of Mayfield Road and Charlotte Drive.

The library was part of 10 new or renovated libraries that were approved in a 2008 referendum worth $275 million and work has been moving on a few sites since then.

Two years ago, project manager Roy Kenski was in the same spot he was this year – at Milton City Hall – asking the community for input on what they would like to see in their library. Among the responses were to save the large oak trees on the property, as well as incorporate the existing old home and barns in some way.

Todd Dolson, project designer showed the crowd of about 40 people his designs. A central "silo" entryway divides what are effectively two buildings – a large building for the books and reading rooms and then a smaller building for public meeting space. There will be about 80,000 volumes in the library.

All three large trees were preserved.

A total of 125 parking spaces wrap behind the library, out of view of the road. The main entrance will be on Charlotte Drive, with a right-in only entrance off Mayfield.

A screened-in porch was included, which Dolson said was a very unique feature for a library. The barns on the site may be incorporated in the library, possibly even moved to house community groups.

"We think it's a great community plan," Dolson said.

While reaction to the designs was generally positive, residents voiced strong concerns about the traffic near the library. The intersection of Charlotte and Mayfield is already rough during peak times.

What about the barns?

MILTON, Ga. – Bob Meyers, who wrote a book cataloging the many barns in Milton County, was particularly interested in the future of the old barns on the library property. Library representatives said one of them may be saved by moving it piece by piece to an empty spot on the property. Meyers said it could then be turned into a home for the newly created Friends of the Milton Library group. Friends President Adam Orkin said if the barn is able to be moved, it may also become a community museum, to tell school children the history of Crabapple and Milton. It would take $25,000 to move the barn, which the Friends hope they can meet. In the meantime, the Friends will collect books and will hold book sales once the library is running.
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"We can't get through this area," said resident and architect Matthew Mitchell.

He said to build a new library in an area already known for its traffic problems without any real traffic improvements is folly.

"There are fundamental flaws in terms of entry and how it addresses the street," he said.

Resident Meghan Jones agreed.

"It's a great idea," said Jones. "But I don't like the traffic around the plan. I don't see how adding this is going to help."

"The way it looks is wonderful. It's very much in keeping with the Crabapple area," said Shaun Virgo, who lives directly south of the library site. "But are we going to end up with a really nice library we can't get at?"

The help incorporate the city's plans for the roads, the library has made room for a potential roundabout at the intersection to be installed. The city also plans to extend Charlotte Drive north of the intersection to help with northerly moving traffic, however there is no timetable on when those improvements will start.

"Fulton County has really listened to what we've wanted to do down there," said Adam Orkin, president of the newly formed Friends of the Milton Library. "It's a public facility and something the community can really take in and enjoy and use."

The library still needs a name, with library officials saying it does not necessarily have to be the "Milton Library." Construction is expected to start by the fall of this year, with construction taking a year.

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