In a unanimous vote Monday night, the Town Supervisor and council approved to go ahead with the expansion of the Town Hall Building.
The vote followed articulate and often emotional testimony, from more than a dozen speakers from the packed, standing room only crowd made up of long time residents, visitors and second home owners.
The council voted to finance the construction with a $900,000 bond. The council said it would be actively seeking grant money to off-set the costs of the project.
The design of the new structure calls for a new Town Court facility, more office space for Town employees and an expanded library.
Jolyn O'Conner and her husband Jim were there in support of the expansion.
"The residents kept vocalizing that they wanted the governing body to move forward with the project and now. Everyone applauded when they finally voted(unanimously) to move forward.
"It was really a slice of small town America at its best. Particularly the older residents, standing up and saying how many generations of their family have lived here and that even though they are on a fixed income, they don't mind paying a little more to improve the court and the library. There were a lot of library employees and volunteers present.
"One of the important topics of discussion was safety issues concerning the current court set up. In its present configuration inmates and lawyers often have conversations in the hallway, exposing them to the general public – including children and the judge.
"My husband Jim who is the police chief in Lyndhurst, NJ, spoke about the dangers of the current court building in terms of prisoners being side by side with residents and school children coming to the library. He discussed the possible liabilities to the community should someone be hurt and that it was an accident waiting to happen. He received a round of applause.
"One such incident could cost us more than the entire cost of this project," Jim said.
He and Jolyn have had a second home here in town for the past five years. The couple caused some laughter in the meeting room when Chief O'Connor admitted he hasn't spent much time in libraries unless it was on "official business".
Jolyn chimed in that she has never seen him in a library in 20 plus years, which she said she finds "inconceivable!"
"Libraries are very important to me as a professional writer and frankly, we would not have purchased a home in this town if it did not have a library." she said.