Letter: Locate library in a worthy building
For years and years and years, Gary Malm has been advocating for a new library. About 2,970 days ago, on Feb. 11, 2010, the Grand Forks Library Board, made up of Lila Christensen, Richard Fiordo, Mike McNamara, Susan Mickelson, and Kay Powell, ac...
For years and years and years, Gary Malm has been advocating for a new library. About 2,970 days ago, on Feb. 11, 2010, the Grand Forks Library Board, made up of Lila Christensen, Richard Fiordo, Mike McNamara, Susan Mickelson, and Kay Powell, accepted the following recommendation from the Grand Forks Public Library Task Force: "...the size of the new library to be 62,267 square feet with 155 spaces for parking at approximately 46,500 square feet. Landscaping and greenspace may take up to approximately 30% of the site."
The task force members were Caprice Benoit, Doug Carpenter, Kenneth Dawes, Ginny Dullum, Paul Holje, James Hovey, Dorette Kerian, Carol Lamberson, Kathy McFarlane, Brian Osowski, Ann Pederson, Brian Poykko, Lana Rakow, Jeff Regimbal, Brian Schill, Rhonda Schwartz and Susan Mickelson, ex-officio. These 21 highly respected people, a cross section of the community, concluded in 2010 that building a new library was the best path forward for Grand Forks. After mass confusion, none of it the responsibility of these people, the voters rejected this plan.
On Nov. 18, 2015, the library board accepted this recommendation: "...(accept) two sites for the construction of a new library." Board members were Brian Schill, Gary Malm, Justin Berry, Sarah Jensen, Corey Mock, Brett Weber and Fawn Behrens-Smith. This brings the number of elected and other community leaders who support a new library to 27.
On July 18, 2016, the City Council created a three-person (Sande, Vein, Marshall) Library Working Committee ready to "hit the ground running." That was 620-plus days ago. They have yet to meet. On Wednesday, at a joint meeting that had been scheduled long in advance, the council and board formed another committee. The Herald reported "everything is on the table, location, remodel, or new." Not at this critical meeting, Council President Sande.
The library has great programming and awesome customer service. Let's locate it in a building worthy of its excellence.
The EDC has wisely invested $6.5 million to have shovel-ready lots. The Public Arts and Veteran's Park projects are moving forward. And yet Council President Sande seems more interested in destroying a 107-year-old public golf course (Lincoln) than doing the heavy lifting required to bring a much needed new library to our community.
C.T. Marhula was on the Library Board and is co-chair of the Mid-town Library Group.