Molly Soeby, Grand Forks, column: South-end library could open amazing doors
By Molly Soeby GRAND FORKS -- I would like to see the library located by the new wellness center. I love the library and am an active patron. I live very close to the proposed Leevers location, but I still would like to see the new library on the...
By Molly Soeby
GRAND FORKS -- I would like to see the library located by the new wellness center.
I love the library and am an active patron. I live very close to the proposed Leevers location, but I still would like to see the new library on the south end.
I never leave my neighborhood to get on South Washington unless I go to a stoplight. The traffic is such that getting on and off of South Washington by the Leevers location is a nightmare. I don't think it will be safe for children or adults.
The library's current location also is not adequate. At times, I have not been able to find parking.
In contrast, if the library is located near the new wellness center, there would be opportunities that do not exist today.
For example, there could be collaborative programs for all ages. What about a "Tri-Read-a-Thon"? This could be a program where there is an educational event at the library, a physical activity event at the Wellness Center (such as swimming, stretching, running or Zumba) and a third element such as a bird watching event on the trails, work in a community garden or a tour of the grounds.
A sculpture garden is something the artists in town have talked about. I just toured a park in St. Paul that has beautiful works of art. The children in the neighborhood know about the artists and can speak about each piece. One piece recently was replaced as the artist sold it for more than $3 million.
This is a park that was frequented by drug users and prostitutes prior to making it an "Art in the Park" destination. There are artists who come to the park, teach young people about art and help them make art of their own out of recycled materials.
The distance to the south end is more a transportation issue. Safe, affordable and consistent transportation is needed.
After all, what difference would the distance to the south make if you could be picked up, driven to the library and then returned, possibly under a sheltered area? It would beat a 5-minute walk when it is 20 below.
This chance to have library patrons enjoy some physical activity that they may be lacking, as well encouraging the fitness buffs learn about the "jewel" that our library is to so many in the city, is unique.
We can build what very few can. The opportunities afforded by the many partnerships throughout our community are astounding and growing every day.
I would like to see the library be a cultural center of the city with opportunities to hear speakers on everything from Mozart to cholesterol. How about a foreign film series? A great coffee shop, comfy sofas and inviting decor with nooks and crannies to read in ... I can't wait.
I know people who go to Fargo for the evening just to hang out in the Barnes and Noble bookstore. What if a beautiful library was open Friday evenings in Grand Forks? It would be a great place to bring children, and gather with friends. It would be a safe place to socialize.
There are many lonely people in this town. A library can be a great social center.
The campaign for the wellness center has been called the Imagine Campaign. A wellness center, library and possibly a senior center all in one location is something I Imagine.
I believe it will draw people to this community. That means more economic development and a stronger economy for all of us.
Again, I want to stress that transportation to the new library, wherever it is built, is something the city needs to commit to early on. City leaders have said they will work to provide transportation; I think it is time for a few more details on what plans they have in mind, so that the transportation can be ready when the wellness center opens its doors.
It will take the fear out of the distance. After all, the way the city is growing is to the south, whether we like it or not.
Fear that the current patrons couldn't get to a south-end library is a fear the city needs to address head-on.
By the way, the library has a great collection and wonderful programming already. It is growing and getting better all the time, thanks to Wendy Wendt and her staff.
Soeby is a member of the Grand Forks Park District board. The district is leading the planning and construction process for Grand Forks' new Choice Wellness Center.