Friday, July 15, 2005

Cd'A Library Location

This is responding to a question on the Huckleberries Online blog about the location of the new library.

The land where the library will be built was partially donated (courtesy of the Jameson family), partially purchased with LCDC involvement, and adjacent to the City Hall, which was a strategic placement. Again, I'm not sure of all the exact reasons for the initial location there, but during the campaign we talked about a few key reasons why the location was a good one:

(1) 15,000 residents of the city (nearly half) live within a mile of the site;

(2) the demographics of the area and the schools nearby indicate that many of the city's most economically disadvantaged kids live in or near downtown, thus it would serve those people who need it the most (surprisingly, CdA has nearly half of it's children in SD271 on free or reduced lunch, an anti-poverty program);

(3) putting a library there could preserve public space for the entire community as opposed to the alternative, selling to the highest bidder and getting another high-rise to ring McEuen Field - I felt this to be a worthy goal philosophically;

(4) the land had already been secured, and with the sale of the current library building on Harrison and passage of the bond, the citizens would be bonding for less than half of the cost and value of the new library - with real estate costs the way they are finding new property would be tricky, and if the location were outside the LCDC zone the LCDC couldn't be involved and the advantageous funding structure there could make the entire cost of the project much higher;

(5) while growth is occurring in the North for sure (that's where I live) some visionary planners have told me that long term growth in this city - which is coming whether we like it or not - will likely be to the south and east, thus making the location perhaps more centrally located looking into the future; and

(6) lastly, there will be tons of new parking spaces in the new library (and theoretically the City Hall complex area next door) and downtown always needs more parking!

I discovered that arguing the location was like arguing religion - it was a matter of personal opinion and thus no one could ever truly be "right" (and the best assessment of the decision-making wouldn't occur until well into the future after the project is completed).

There are still efforts ongoing to raise the final amount of money for completing the project, fixtures, etc, and the city has a good team together working on it, led by Renata McLeod. There are great naming opportunities and ways to put your family's permanent stamp on the new library through tax-deductible contributions.

For more information, or to make a contribution, go to the link above or here:

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