By: Diane Benjamin
The expansion plans for the Bloomington Library weren’t well received by anybody on the council except Tari. Amelia Buragas still wants to move the library claiming people want it closer to downtown. The expansion plans presented still don’t provide enough parking according to Amelia and City Code. Several think parking isn’t needed since transportation is changing and so many people take Uber or the bus. Joni Painter was the voice of reason, the City doesn’t have the money.
For once they even discussed the total cost – including interest. Usually that part is left out. Several members stated Bloomington had lots of needs and they need prioritized. The Library has a functional building so they aren’t high on the list. The total cost could be over $50,000,000, not including moving Public Works. Moving PW is estimated at $10,000,000
The current building can be repaired for around $2,000,000 – the library has that money now. Maybe some on the Council saw yesterday’s story about traffic way down from just 4 years ago. https://blnnews.com/2018/10/15/why-does-the-library-want-to-expand/
The library head and Board President didn’t seem to know people aren’t coming anymore. They did claim they need more room for special events. Events are being planned because they are trying to stay relevant. Look at the recap on PDF page 13 showing traffic since 2013: http://www.bloomingtonlibrary.org/Assets/files/bpl_board/boardpackets/2018/2018.10bplboardpacket.pdf
It didn’t sound like the Council had any appetite for raising property taxes. Tari talked about the library floating a small bond and the City floating one. See 57:50. He evidently didn’t realize the payment for both comes out of the same pocketbook – Karen Schmidt corrected him.
The ball is now in Tim Gleason’s court. Either the library is a priority or it isn’t. Downtown is always first, now numerous MUST have’s are fighting for the rest – if any money is left.
It will cost $75,000 – $100,000 to open the pool next year if band-aid repairs are made. It sounds like a one year fix only. Parks and Rec really wants a total park rejuvenation. The pool is losing $115,000 a year now, if they spend $10,000,000 is will only lose $75,000 a year.
Of course, its economic development. Keep in mind the pool will only be open from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Other parts can be open all year as weather permits.
Again, Tim Gleason has to find a funding source in the next budget.
Watch the entire discussions below: