Library - What is Best ?
By George Tipton
August 21, 2010
This issue has been looked at for years but finally a local group
with the HELP of the Foraker Group has come up with alternatives
and solutions. They looked at varying options with certain criteria
so that all situations could be scored against equal comparables.
I have been involved with these reviews on many proposed projects
including the Weiss ballfields, the Indoor Rec Center, the new
School, just to name a few. I do not advocate any particular
location but look at the facts and history of a given situation.
In 2004 & 2007, the City put out RFP's for Library locations.
The criteria changed from approx. 16,000 sq. ft. to 23,000 sq.
ft. There was no real reason given for the change but the City
Council, including Mr. Bergeron accepted it - a mistake.
I asked staff and the Council about the reviews and scoring that
supposedly occurred for each set of RFP's and no one could provide
me with anything. I already knew this because I had never been
contacted for a walk thru of my building, the square footage,
price, etc. Just an example is that I could have remodeled my
whole building and sold it to the City for a Library for under
$8M. However, this did not occur because many of the same individuals,
business owners and City employees wanted it in a Downtown location,
no matter what may be in the best interests for the Community.
This, even though, their choice at Grant Street removes much
needed parking, does not provide good year-round accessibility
and forces us onto a street which has a percentage grade (13+%)
that exceeds an Ordinance that the Council themselves passed
for new construction (11%).
The A Better Choice group wants it at a location that has been
rejected 3 times and the architects and Foraker Group, independent
authorities, also reviewed that location with negative connotations.
Luckily the Foraker Group has provided us with an unbiased set
of choices that the Council & the Community should endorse.
The Proposed Location, while maybe not the optimum, would be
located across from 3 long-term entities - KRBD, Channel Electric
and the Borough Bus Barn/Maintenance Facility, so it is not alone.
One end would border on Schoenbar Road where we have 3 Schools,
Ballfields,the Recreation Center, the proposed new Pool, a major
Many of the ABC group were also opposed to moving the Borough
offices. Their supposed leader, Mr. Bergeron, has stated that
the governments need to have their ability to make long-term
financial committments severely limited. This is from the same
person that voted while on the Council to put the the Library/Parking
Garage on Grant Street site without sending it to the voters.
He was also in favor of a land swap of Lot 10A (the new Fire
Station lot downtown) for Ward Cove property and then giving
away Lot 10A (worth $1.18M) without allowing the people a vote.
If those did not have have financial implications, I am not
sure what classifies! Many people have stated that CPV funds
can and will be utilized for Capital & Operating funds for
the new Library. I guess they are utilizing a different crystal
ball than most as the project does not fit into acceptable criteria
for fund expenditure. In other words be careful about believing
varying things that are being written as they can change like
the breeze, as the case was shown above.
The architects and the Foraker Group have reflected on cost -
1 story vs 2 story (add'l square footage for stairwell, an elevator,
etc.) and it is just about a wash for cost. It also limits the
long-term employee cost by having one level for one person to
control the entry points. They have included the costs of purchasing
property vs utilizing City-owned property and comparing the costs
of Libraries in other communites. I appreciate the job that
has been done in reducing the size of the Library back to where
it started at in 2004, weighing varying alternatives and trying
to look out for the future of the community and the best interests
of the whole. The simple fact that we can be considered in the
next funding cycle and only have a potential cost of up to $4M
is a long way from where we have been in discussions for this
building for years! Many folks have talked about building in
a rock pit but almost every area of town was a rock pit while
subdivisions, etc. were developed. You had to blast and drill
but it was not always processed on site. Some examples in recent
history would be Cambria, Jackson Heights, Summit Terrace areas.
Development will always occur and things will work out.
It is time to get out and vote and reject the Grant Street site
as experts far greater than my knowledge have explained by VOTING
NO on 2 and YES ON 1.
About: "former elected
official, offeree for Library space"
Received August 20, 2010 -
Published August 21, 2010
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