Group: Oak Creek due new library

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— Voters in south Routt County will have to decide if they want to pay for a new library in downtown Oak Creek or stick with the old ones.

The proposed issue is spread between two questions, labeled 4B and 4C on the ballot. Both need to pass for the library to be built. One covers the cost of the building and the other would pay for operations in the building. They equal $1.2 million worth of tax money.

Library officials decided last year that the libraries in Oak Creek and Yampa were too small, and began working on plans to build a new building in Oak Creek.

The new library would replace the Oak Creek library but the Yampa library would remain open.

The final blueprints show a 5,800-square-foot building on Sharp and Oak streets. Included in the building plan is a large area for books, with places to read, a public meeting room and an outdoor plaza.

"This is mainly to solve the space inadequacy problem in the current libraries," Dina Murray said.

Murray was hired by the South Routt Library Board to be the project coordinator for the proposed building.

Along with a new building, the catalog system will be computerized, which could be integrated with the Soroco School District's libraries, Murray said.

Library officials said they think these upgrades are necessary, and point at statistics of library use to back them up.

Last year more than 10,000 visitors checked out more than 12,000 books, videos, audio tapes and periodicals in south Routt libraries. Also 1,565 people attended library programs.

Services can be expanded to cater to more visitors to the library if the issues pass, Murray said. The library district would have more money to pay for staffing to keep the library open longer, Murray said.

The town of Oak Creek donated some of the land on which the new library would be built.

The right to use that land will expire in 2002.

Murray said the South Routt Library Board plans on keeping the issue alive, even if it doesn't get the votes needed to pass the questions. That means it is likely to be on next year's ballot.

However, because of the expiration date on the land, library officials want to pass the bond issue this year, so they don't miss the opportunity of using the city land.

Nothing will happen to Yampa Library if the issues pass.

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