Library district to form committee

Group will be asked to make recommendations on expansion

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As the East Routt Library District continues to look to expand, it is asking residents to serve on a committee to help direct the path of that expansion.

The district hopes the committee will become part of a public input process as the district looks at expanding the Bud Werner Memorial Library.

As the East Routt Library District continues to look to expand, it is asking residents to serve on a committee to help direct the path of that expansion.

The committee, which will have 10 to 15 members, will be asked to look at the future needs of the library and make recommendations for the expansion's site plan and how to fund it.

"In reviewing the fact-finding process for the district's needs, it became apparent that the library needs to reach out to the community to obtain broad feedback and ideas from a variety of people," Library Director Chris Painter said.

To get a wide range of public input, the library would like to have members from the Down-town Business Association, the Community Alliance, the outlying areas of north and west Routt, the education system, children, teenagers, the arts and culture sector, seniors, the city and the library board and staff.

The committee will meet twice a month from August to February, Painter said. It will review the library's space needs, seek input from others in the community on needs and desires for library services, create a vision for a model library of the future and develop a formal recommendation to the library board.

"We need them to look really hard at the options out there and what the community really wants," Painter said.

Last fall, the East Routt Library Board presented to the city its plans for a 24,000-square-foot library where the city's community center and Lockhart Auction and Realty Co. stand. This spring the district purchased the 0.234-acre Lockhart property along Lincoln Avenue. The purchase solidified what had been a more than three-year search for a library expansion site and will keep potential for a new library next to the existing library at the corner of 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue.

In the presentation given to the council and Planning Commis-sion in November, plans called for restoring the banks of Soda Creek.

The district admitted the proposed location comes with its set of challenges, such as increased traffic congestion and parking, and relocating the existing programs in the community center such as the Routt County Council on Aging and the American Legion.

Although the committee will look at ways to address challenges to the site at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue, Painter said the district has a strong commitment to stay there.

"The public library, in order to retain a strong sense of community, really should remain in the heart of town. You can say that is a strong sentiment we have heard from people in the community," Painter said.

Another key component to the committee will be a recommendation on funding the expansion. If the district decides to expand or build a larger facility, Painter said, it would probably take a voter-approved bond to fund it.

Although a bond will not appear on this year's ballot, the library wants to start discussions with other taxing entities to coordinate timing, needs and impact on the taxpayer.

"The goals of the committee and the library board are to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent judiciously, that our residents receive the library service that they deserve and desire and that the library grows to become a place that is not the only a source of pride but also an invaluable resource and asset for the community," Painter said.

Application forms for the committee are available at the library and will be accepted until July 15.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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