Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "A Step Forward":
Also agree that a small positive step was made at council
A little clarification please.
What exactly are the two
buildings in question?
There appears to be a 1960's vintage library building
at 56 Victoria - next to the Church St School but I can't imagine that would
hold any historical value or am I looking in the wrong place?
The first building is the former three bay firehall. It became a parks yard in the late seventies when a new firehall was built on a site intended for new prestige industry..
Then $250,000 was spent on it to create a senior's centre in the eighties. It has been used for the last six or seven years as a facility for severely disabled children for whom there is no place in the regular school system.
The group had lost its space elsewhere and were so desperate to find a new home, they gladly accepted a monthly lease until the decision would be made to demolish the building.
Under it's frontispiece it is still a cinder block structure with a tarred roof sitting on a cement pad. The building owes the town nothing. It could vanish without a trace in a day.
The old library is a different kettle of fish. It's not so old. A third of it was built in 1963 as the town;s centennial project.It wasn't the town's first library.
I believe that was on the second floor of a long -gone building on the corner of Yonge and Mosely. It was also the town hall a firehall and a jail cell and I think, a market.
When we arrived in Aurora the library was in Victoria Hall a dank and dreary spot. Shelves lined the walls but the books were also on long trestle tables. My children did not like the place. It was spooky.
The new library was attractive, and much appreciated .
Librarian Marjorie Anderson was extremely fondly regarded. She kept particular books she didn't think kids should have access to, under the counter. Adults had to ask for them. They knew they were there. The collection was kept current.
In the seventies, The library board decided to add twice as much space to the original. The town authorised $250,000 for an addition. That should have trimmed the size of the addition.
The board had already retained an architect without approval of funds for an addition. It was decided on advice from the architect, to build the shell of the addition until more funds would be available.
The comparison was made to how well we managed in Victoria Hall.
The shell was built, with neither heating nor lighting. It could not be used.
The town stood firm. We could not afford more funds.The board would have to fund-raise.
The new librarian was not amused. But needs must.
A Friends of the Library Association was formed and my name was Mayor Mud
Former Councillor Betty Pederson and the late Dick Illingworth became co-chairs of a fund raising campaign and the goal was successfully achieved.
The front entrance of the addition was at the back of the building
because of the Official Plan designation of the location as a Civic Square.
The library would face Yonge Street and have pride of place in the square.
The Browning house on Yonge Street came on the market. The town bought it with the long-term goal in mind.
Time passed, Council membership changed.. Dreams get lost. The new library was built on the corner of Yonge and Church. The town now owns ,I would say, seventy-five per cent of the block.
The seniors were lobbying Council to let them have the old library.
The old firehall was severely limited in its scope for programs. The seniors never ever thought of asking the town to build something new to suit their needs.
Yhey were of a generation who well knew the connection between taxes and amenities. Making do for them is a way of life.
The idea of having all that space in the old library was exciting..
So the decision to demolish the building was not made when it should have been.
We surprised the seniors. . We built them a new facility. On the site of the town hall. Last night the parking lot was full of cars
of people attending a Water for Tomorrow.presentation.
The large all purpose room in thecentre lends itself well to other gatherings when not used by the seniors.
Some thought a teen centre should have been built instead. It was in former Mayor Jones last term.
So now we have two.buildings without a purpose, sitting on under-utilised land, several times more valuable than the structures taking up space.
A third part of one was the library built in 1963 to mark the town's centennial. It has happy ,positive memories .Built in the last term of Former and late Mayor Keith Nisbett. .
The late Councillor Jean Moffat was chair of the library committee.
At the 1963 Inaugural, the town's first Chain of Office was presented , It was fashioned by an award winning designer named Rod Smythe.
At the same gathering , Councillor Moffatt told the audience she had pushed for a basement in the new library but couldn't get support from Council.
So that part of the building , a third of the old library, sits on a concrete slab. Much like the former three bay fire hall.
It was a very pretty little building. An old fire hall bell sat in a little courtyard designed for the purpose.
The new facility was much appreciated. A new building is always a happy event . Like a new baby.
But it is not yet historical.
Aurora has a progressive history.
It was never part of Aurora's culture to steep themselves in the past. There was little to speak of. We are a young country. A young town. Our past and our present is one and the same.
Our culture is to look forward without forgetting the past.
There is of course.respect for the past. We have a principle of building on our past. There have been glitches in the drive forward.
We are roaring out of one now.
The time is right.