Posted on

upgrade projects, ate up most ….

upgrade projects, ate up most of the loan money.

“It was there,” Schecklman said of money for the library. “All of our bids (for the city office and museum) came back higher than we anticipated … It was the intent of this Council to give money to the library. It’s unfortunate everything cost so much more than it did.”

Now, Schecklman said, the city needs to decide what it will do with the library going forward. As a first step, the library committee will meet soon with the Council’s Facility Committee to look at the most pressing needs.

“We know you have some things that need to be addressed now,” Schecklman said.

There is no money left for significant spending in the 2020 budget, he noted, and the Council is in the process of drafting its 2021 spending plan. In that, Schecklman said, the city perhaps can find money “to get you through the winter.”

The city can then take some time to study the issue of spending more money on the old building, or building something new. One potential building site would be an open lot between the museum and the Family Dollar Store on South Main Street. Schecklman said Council member Ryan Ashbeck suggested that city-owned space as a new library location.

We could attach it (a new library) to the museum, which would draw more traffic there,” the mayor said. “It kind of promotes the museum with the library. The city already owns that piece of land anyway. There’s a lot of positives to that. Obviously, the cost is the big thing … I don’t know how feasible it is, but I think we have to look at it.”

Schecklman said the city will also consider other options, such as possibly working with the school for a combined library. It could just go with the needed repairs to the old building, but is that the best use of city dollars?

“It seems like we could drop a hundred grand into that easily, and you’ve still got a small building updated,” he said.

If the city were to build a new library, what would become then of the 1934 structure? Part of it could be used for interior restrooms for the adjacent city park/ playground area, Schecklmen said, and the rest for a community room, or rental space for a business.

Metzke said she has two initial concerns with the location by the museum. For one, she said, it’s a low lot with drainage issues. Also, she said, it’s not in the center of town and not as convenient as the current location.

“Kids would have to ride all the way down there to get there,” Metzke said. “That’s a long way from the school to ride your bike to the library afterwards.”

Schecklman said it might not make sense to build a new library on the site of the current one. The area behind it contains many buried utility lines, he said, which would limit any new building’s footprint.

“I don’t think you have the room there for what you want,” the mayor said. “You’re really boxed in all the way around.”

Schecklman said the plan for now will be to have the two committees meet to review pressing needs and “what you can do to get by.” After that, a look at the bigger picture will happen to find a long-term solution.

“We want to do something with the library,” the mayor said. “I know it’s very valuable and I’d love to see it expand.”