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Our View: Commons rehab project has potential

It’s time to come to terms with the fact that a new city library likely won’t be built at the Glover Park site where the Friday Memorial Library now sits.

The debate is over, and $500,000 of grant money is on the table.

It appears to be a done deal that the city’s new library will be at the Community Commons site on Green Avenue instead of on East First Street along the Willow River.

Though it won’t be on the river, the excitement is mounting for finally constructing a new library that could be the centerpiece of a campus of buildings dedicated to various civic-minded activities. If done right, this campus could serve as the new town square area for our community.

City Administrator Mike Darrow’s vision for the campus -- which includes razing all existing structures on the site and starting from scratch -- is one we can support.

Though it will be jarring for local historic preservationists, the tradition of demolishing the old to create something new is deeply rooted in every community. After all, if you look back far enough, we had to demolish trees and grass to make way for main street shops and roads. Not every structure is deserving of eternal preservation, especially when the preservation could stand in the way of a civic service campus concept that could change the very nature of how people in our community get nourishment from the food shelf, fellowship from senior citizens, knowledge from Community Education programs, patriotism from veterans or the host of services available at a public library.

Even though the community still has a long way to go before the concept can become reality, pre-design charrette sessions in the coming months will be critical.