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Library Board outlines deal breakers for Commons site

With a joint meeting among the New Richmond City Council, the New Richmond School District Board of Education and the New Richmond Library Board tentatively set for June 30, the possibility of an agreement to build a library at the Community Commons site (421 S. Green Ave.) could be closer to reality.

Even though the Library Board has gone on record long ago with a strong recommendation to build a new library at the current site of the Friday Memorial Library (155 E. First St.), members of the library board appear to be opening up to the reality that the library could be built at the Commons site instead.

At its May 27 meeting, the Library Board approved a set of seven recommendations to the City Council pertaining to a possible library building at the Green Avenue site. The recommendation says the Library Board continues to recommend the First Street site, but would support the Green Avenue site if all seven of its conditions were met.

While presenting a set of proposed recommendations to the Library Board, Library Director Kimberly Hennings wanted to make sure all possible issues the board may have with the site were addressed in the document.

“I really want a clean document that outlines if you’re going to support the Commons site, this is what has to take place,” Hennings said. “The last thing I want to do is get to a meeting and say, ‘no, that’s a deal breaker.’ I want all the deal breakers laid out now.”

The conditions detailed in the Library Board recommendation include the following:

• The library site is owned and maintained by the city.

• The library site is clean, with a space for free-standing new construction.

• The library would require a formal agreement between partners if a new shared space is considered.

• The Commons site is accessible and visible.

• The city determines use for the existing library building (Friday site) consistent with deed restrictions. The city maintains or demolishes the building.

• The city establishes a funding amount/commitment for the city share of library construction including consideration to future operational and capital costs, and anticipated level of other funding — grants, donations, sponsorships of spaces, and other revenue sources including borrowed and impact fees.

• The Library Board recommends the library design be developed and approved by library staff and Library Board consistent with the project budget.

The recommendation document was approved by a 3-1 vote with Jeff Peplau, Gordon Granroth and J. William Ruyle voting in favor and Alderperson Bobbie Dale-Wozniak voting against. Board members Keith Stuedemann, Lizabeth Kilibarda and Andy Hoeppner were absent.

City applies for CDBG

A a special meeting on May 29, the New Richmond City Council held a public hearing and voted 4-1 to approve a resolution to apply for funds through the Community Development Block Grant-Public Facilities Program. Dale-Wozniak cast the dissenting vote. Alderperson Jane Hansen was absent.

The city hopes to receive up to $500,000 in grant money and pass it along to the New Richmond School District to use as part of a project to keep the Community Commons concept alive, possibly as part of a new campus that could include the city’s library in the future.

The special meeting and hearing were convened just a few days before the June 2 grant application deadline.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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