City Council Votes in Favor of Library Funding
$80,000 to Go Toward Site and Design Assessment
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The Duluth Public Library is no longer adequately serving the public, according to city officials.
“Lack of energy efficiency and lack of flexibility has brought us to a point where we need to do something with this building, make a major investment one way or another,” said Carla Powers, manager of the Duluth Public Library.
Monday evening, the city council voted in favor of spending up to $80,000 to move the process of constructing a new library forward.
Back in the fall of 2014, a group of architects was hired to assess various future options for the building.
Then in January, a citizens steering committee recommended building a new library as a more responsible decision than attempting to renovate the current building.
The money would be used to further assess possible locations.
“The library board and the city are all in agreement that it should be somewhere downtown, but it wouldn’t necessarily need to be where it is now,” Powers stated.
Mayor Don Ness has already suggested a possible place for the new library on the 100 block of East Superior Street next to Lake Place Park.
“It’s in a vibrant part of downtown, it backs up into Lake Place Park, such that so folks could walk straight out of the library and sit down with a newly checked out book under the trees overlooking Lake Superior,” explained Jim Filby Williams, director of Public Administration for Duluth.
This location has the three major things that the city is looking for in a new site: keeping it downtown, on a bus route, with adequate parking.
But other locations have not yet been ruled out.
“This next stage of design will give us and the public the information we need to answer the big questions,” Williams said. “Do we want to continue to go forward towards a new main library? If so, what are the financing options that we want to consider as a community?”
Though $80,000 is no small fee, city officials believe it is a necessary step in the larger project.
“This is a significant investment this evening, but it is wise due diligence when we’re looking at a project of potentially $30 million in magnitude,” said Williams.