Letters regarding library referendum
Not library, public safety
Once again, I see a "few" looking for their 15 minutes in the spotlight. The push for a new library in Hudson is ridiculous! The cost alone should be a warning, seeing that the current facility is seldom if ever crowded and I concur with many, that in these economic times, personal agendas cannot and should not overshadow the facts that a new library and the projected costs associated with it most certainly will exceed projections for years to come.
If this is such a good deal, then why do I see a huge media blitz in the paper, yard signs and more to try and influence common sense?
What this city needs, and it is for all and not a few, is money and significant resources for our public safety. Starting with the police department, and including the EMTs as well as the fire department.
Somehow, this dire need has been lost in all the school and library debates, but Chief Jensen and his overworked, underpaid and poorly equipped department have continued their efforts without the public outcries that we are seeing for the library.
We here in Hudson live in a fabulous community, a community that has been shaped and re-shaped with the growth of business as well as homes and families. The safety, serenity and community unity is fast gone if safety and protection of our neighbors is inadequate.
If we are to spend money as taxpayers, let's spend money the right way, on the right things -- an investment in the current and future safety of our residents and in a way that shows our commitment to keep the reputation of a "scenic river town" with a great business climate, great neighborhoods and great schools.
The next time there is a robbery, a hold-up or worse yet, will you wonder if more officers, more detectives and up-to-date equipment/facilities could have made a difference? Probably not, until the crime happens to you!
Let's financially support the areas that are really in need of it, for all of our well being. I personally think that the proposed library site would make a fabulous public safety building for police, fire and EMTs.
To all of the police, fire and EMTs, keep up the good work, and hopefully the powers to be in City Hall will do the right thing and support your needs, not your "wants."
Dennis Kennealy, Hudson
Believes in new library
I am writing to support having our library downtown at the lakefront for several reasons.
It is important to be downtown. Our downtown has a special value for us, not only for its unique businesses but because it sets us apart from other cities. Efforts to enhance downtown Hudson as our city center will have long-term value for our success. Having a library near The Phipps Center for the Arts will bring together and enhance three activities vital for any city center hoping to thrive: lifelong learning, the arts and entertainment
It is important to be lakefront because of the unusual attractiveness and welcoming character a location like this will afford. Its welcoming and friendly nature will help the library be discovered more easily, create a more enjoyable experience, and the library's mission will be enhanced. Libraries can be a center for learning, information and entertainment and contribute so much to the richness of life. I would like an attractive, welcoming library to bring this benefit to more people.
I have always envied River Falls for its beautiful, modern downtown library, located near unique shops where social and entertainment activities are centered. Now is our chance to do the same.
I believe in the saying that we should live like we might die tomorrow but learn like we will live forever. Entertainment, the arts and lifelong learning belong together. Vote for the library to be near the downtown lakefront.
Ted Eastlund, North Hudson
Dislikes plan for library
It has been brought to my attention that in my letter last week regarding the Nov. 4 referendum for the Hudson Area Joint Library, I understated the total capital cost. The total would be $10.5 million.
The correct capital breakdown is: city $2,166,728, village $675,676, town of Hudson $1,448,320, town of St. Joseph $709,277, Hudson Area Library Foundation $5,000,000, and non-municipality funds $500,000.
The referendum amounts are slightly different due to each municipality's requirement to issue bonds at a cost of around $30,000 each and their ability to pay the differences out of current or future excess funds.
$10.5 million is entirely too much to pay for a library that is inconsistent with the recommendations of Robert H. Rohlf Associates, the firm hired to advise the community on the library needs for the year 2025.
Each of the four communities within the Hudson Area Joint Library will now have the opportunity to decide if this plan makes sense and is affordable. In my letter last week, I discussed the sense of the plan. I believe the plan is faulted for the following reasons:
1. Wrong location with lack of sufficient parking.
2. The building is 30 percent larger than what is needed by 2025. Larger buildings cost more to operate.
3. The capital plan exceeds what is prudent. Based on the costs incurred for the building of River Crest Elementary school, a sensible building plan and collection expansion would be in the neighborhood of $8 million. River Crest is around 93,500 square feet and the cost was $15.5 million. The library needs just one third this space.
4. We are already facing a property tax increase from the school district due to a nearly 13 percent projected increase in their levy. We can certainly expect an increase from the county, from WITC, from the state and from our municipalities.
I recommend a no vote on all of the library referendum questions. We need a better plan and we need financial prudence.
David Bartizal, Hudson
Vote 'yes' for library
Voters will once again have an opportunity to make their voices heard regarding the proposed lakefront site for the Hudson Area Joint Library. Seventy percent of voters favored the Lakefront Library project in April's advisory referendum.
The sale of the NMC building is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Hudson Area Joint Library to purchase an existing building in a beautiful, central location with ample parking -- and to do so for less than the cost of buying land and constructing a new facility. The proposed floor plan of this spacious site allows for future growth, accessibility, and other community uses. It would be a lasting investment in the community. A 2008 study by Northstar Economies of Madison found the investment return of library services to be $4.06 for each taxpayer dollar.
The project is a terrific example of a public-private partnership, with half the funds coming from foundations and donors. Only after the Hudson Area Library Foundation has secured commitments and contributions of $4 million will the municipalities be committed to match funds.
Let's seize this opportunity and vote yes on Nov. 4.
Colleen O'Connell, Hudson
Thoughts on library vote
New library proposal thoughts:
1. I learned while visiting the 41,000-square-foot NMC building the basement will not be used immediately. The consultant was correct in recommending a 31,000-square-foot building. Why pay for this unneeded space now? In the 1960s, St. Croix River flood waters did flow over First Street. Doesn't this make the basement useless for valuable document, book and other media storage?
2. There are safety patrol guards at the St. Croix and Second street intersection for school children. Who will oversee kids at the much busier Vine and Second street intersection?
3. The driveway into the NMC parking lot is midway down a steep hill west of Second Street. There is limited vision of oncoming traffic from the east when exiting that lot. There is no sidewalk on the north side of Vine in that area.
4. River view is a non-issue. Trees block views from both the first and second floors. Patrons will be focused on the business at hand, not the river.
5. "The hill" is where the action is in town. Busy families multi-tasking to get to the schools, the YMCA, etc. or shopping need to be efficient with time and transportation costs. We must consider the many seniors living in the area. A library at the far edge of town, at the bottom of a steep hill, will not be convenient for these groups. "The hill" is high and dry, too!
6. The Hudson School District built a 93,500-square-foot LEED-certified elementary school for $167 per square foot. A new 31,000-square-foot library could cost $5,177,000 plus land rather than the $10,500,000 for a 1995 building that will cost more to renovate than the $3,300,000 purchase price. We must save taxpayer dollars now and in the future with another LEED certified building. "Green" in 1995 is not the same as "green" in 2008!
7. A recent news item explained that a UW-Madison library has removed 30,000 volumes along with 900 paper journals and magazines. In a personal discussion with a staff person that decision was based on different research procedures as a result of the digital-age. This trend will continue.
8. $683,000 is current operating cost; $1,150,000 is estimated at library opening.
9. One final thought. A preliminary 6.33 percent mill rate increase is planned from our local school district.
Dolly Qualls, Hudson
Supports library vote
I was once known as the "reading lady" or the "Reading Railroad lady" by hundreds of students who passed through Willow River Elementary. The Reading Railroad was a recreational reading program that promoted reading outside the classroom.
Incentives were used to encourage students to read more and hopefully instill the love of reading. The incentives were colored paper boxcars taped on the walls, extending the train throughout the building. The more they read, the longer the train. We gave away one or two books a year to students but most of the students read books from the library. It was one of my most cherished times to see children go from the sometimes dread of trying to read to seeing them barely able to break away from an exciting story or adventure.
After visiting the Chicago Public Library this weekend, it became very clear to me why we need a new library in Hudson. We are missing out on the sense of community and access to information a good public library will bring to Hudson and the surrounding towns. A larger library will offer a place for people to meet, share ideas, study together, gather information, participate in programs for writing and with authors, borrow a book or book on tape or even use a computer to look up information.
The Chicago Library Mission Statement inspired me:
"We welcome and support all people in their enjoyment of reading and pursuit of lifelong learning. Working together, we strive to provide equal access to information, ideas and knowledge through books, programs and other resources. We believe in the freedom to read, learn and discover."
Don't take reading and access to information for granted. Please vote yes to both of the library questions on the Nov. 4 ballot so all the citizens of Hudson and the surrounding communities can enjoy equal access to information and continue their enjoyment of reading!
Lana Sjoberg, Hudson
Library site is wrong
After reading of the number of sites available for the Library Foundation to choose, I am more than a little concerned about their decision-making qualifications. It is so akin to the decisions Congress and the Supreme Court have made in the last eight years. It certainly didn't consider the average middle class family.
They had 23 choices and as far as I can see from the drawings and specifics regarding amount of parking, safety of location, no building to be removed or remodeled at great cost, availability etc., the site they chose was not the best we could do by any stretch of the imagination.
Their choices included the old hospital site, the site on Second Street on the northeast side past the underpass (nice view of Lake Mallalieu and a large area both to the east and west), Burton Park, the city impound lot, a portion of Williams Park, E.P. Rock northeast corner, part of the high school land nearest Vine Street, bottom land of Coon's Hill, Grandview Glen, southwest site on Carmichael Road and others that were considered and discarded. A good share of these locations are owned by the city of Hudson now.
If we had had the true picture of their intention, would we have voted for what they already had decided without letting the public know? I will be surprised if anyone grabs up that NMC building in the near future unless the Library Foundation does.
Jenebelle Houck Zappa, Hudson