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No tax dollars in new landscaping

HARVARD — The new landscaping at the Harvard Public Library is taking shape, and some people around town have expressed concerns about the cost to the taxpayers. As a library trustee, I just wanted to reassure our neighbors — absolutely no tax dollars are being used.

All the money for the landscaping project has come from donations and grants that the Harvard Public Library Trust has received over the years. A number of local families have made generous memorial gifts to the library. The HPL Trust is providing initial funds and matching gifts for the project.

Of course, we welcome contributions for the landscaping work, as well as the donations that residents have made in the past several years that allowed us to re-open the library for half-days on Fridays.

Under state law, public libraries must receive the bulk of their day-to-day operating expenses from town budgets, or else they lose accreditation and access to interlibrary loans and state funds. The existence of the HPL Trust — and the generosity of those who donate to it — allows our library to go well beyond the basics in providing service to the whole community.

The original building plan for the new library included landscaping, but the funds for that part of the plan were not available then. So this work completes that project.

Our goal is to provide landscaping that makes the most of the library’s location at the heart of the town’s educational, cultural and recreational campus. The new plantings and hardscape will offer people gathering places, seating and shade. In addition, the new walkways address some safety issues by making emergency paths easier to maintain in all seasons.

We hope that everyone in town will enjoy walking on the new paths; sitting on the terrace to watch the sun go down over Bare Hill Pond; reading outdoors on the benches and sitting stones; or taking a child to see birds and butterflies at the garden outside the children’s room window.

— Chris Frechette, chair, Harvard Public Library Trustees

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