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Our View: Has city pivoted from current library site?

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opinion New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

At a joint meeting of the New Richmond City Council and the New Richmond Library Board in the Civic Center basement on Monday, city officials were making plans and speaking as if they had already decided on the Community Commons as the site for a new city library.

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Excited with the prospect that the city could apply for a $500,000 grant to aid in razing the 1926 portion of the former middle school, city officials were abuzz with ideas for repurposing the existing library into a museum or a history center. Even a visitor’s bureau or Chamber of Commerce office were among the suggestions.

Members of the Library Board -- including District 3 Alderperson Bobbie Dale-Wozniak -- sat oddly silent during the meeting. Dale-Wozniak, the council’s appointed representative on the Library Board made no friends among her fellow council members while advocating for the current library site. She perhaps went a bit too far when she moved that the council cede control of the library building issue to the Library Board.

Mayor Fred Horne moved to rein in the Library Board last month with an attempt to appoint an alderperson other than Dale-Wozniak.

The message was clear to the rest of the Library Board members: Those who fail to play nice can be replaced by a mayoral appointment when his or her term is up.

The move to replace Dale-Wozniak is yet to be resolved, but the message the mayor attempted to send appears to have been received by the other Library Board members.

None stood up to advocate for the current site -- which has been the Library Board’s recommendation all along.

If the members of the Library Board have changed their minds about their preferred site, they didn’t make it clear on Monday.

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