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More Thoughts on the Ketchikan Public Library
by Robert D. Warner


March 14, 2004

I was delighted to read that many folks advocate maintaining the Ketchikan Public Library in its present location. This setting is beautiful with Ketchikan Creek offering special enjoyment to those who use the library. Assets of this unique location could never be replaced by building a expensive "white elephant" on the top of a parking garage.

We also should remember that the current Centennial Building's architecture likely requires only modest rennovations if the museum moved and the library stayed. A museum rennovation would be a major expense and likely cost more than construction of a new building.

Unfortunately these ideas seem to be ignored by current library management. Do we really need a new public library? What ever happened to these plans developed several years ago to move the museum into a new building and keep the public library in the current location?

About 15 years ago a group of citizens from both the library and museum got together to plan for the future of the Centennial Building. There was general agreement that, if the city continued to grow, one of the two departments should plan on moving to a new facility.

With this understanding that the current Centennial Building could be economically updated to serve the needs of a library, a museum rennovation would be very costly and require major reconstruction of the building, it was recommended that the museum should move into a new facility and the library should stay in the Centennial Building.

I believe a feasibility study was completed for construction of a new museum building. The project was later placed on hold when the mill closed.

Who suddenly determined that Ketchikan should build a new library and the museum should stay in the Centennial Building after expensive rennovations?

Why is it now more cost effective to build a new library and then rennovate the current facility for museum use when the opposite was determined a few years ago?

What are the implications of such projects on taxes we have to pay?

I am troubled because it appears that special interests are promoting two expensive projects at a time that the community clearly cannot afford tax increases. We would also be spending a fortune on a library structure that lacks the unique setting and charm now revered by library patrons.


Robert D. Warner
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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