Library plan is wrong
On Nov. 4, the communities within the Hudson Area Joint Library will vote to approve a total bond of $4.4 million and an additional operating levy of $540,000 per year. The service of this debt will be $325,000 per year. This is in addition to the some $600,000 per year that is already spent on the library. What do we get for nearly $1.5 million per year?
An office building converted to a library that does not match the recommendations of Robert H. Rohlf Associates, the hired professionals who advised the community on what was needed.
According to Rohlf’s Web site, they are a “partnership of professional librarians” with “projects that number over 300.” In short, they are experts. Yet their report is now being ignored. They recommended building a 31,000-square-foot facility on 2-3 acres with parking for 105. This was based on a need projection for the year 2025, not now. The plan before us is a proposal to purchase and remodel a 40,000-square-foot office building with parking for only 45 vehicles. The plan is to close the facility on Friday and Saturday evening due to lack of downtown parking.
Furthermore, having a library around the corner from bars, an “adult” store and heavy traffic makes no sense at all.
To justify the plan, the Hudson Area Library Foundation claims on their Web site that a new facility would cost $13.5 million. This is wrong. Take for example the new River Crest Elementary School, which was built for $167 per square foot. By this standard, a 31,000-square-foot building should cost $5.2 million or at most $8 million when land purchase, other costs and collection expansion are considered.
By agreement, $4 million in donations has to be raised by November 2009. Let’s wait until this money is in hand. Instead of voting yes now, write a check for a donation if you support the library. With the many needs of our local governments, the poor economy and the budget problems at a county, state and federal level, is now really the best time to take on more debt? If enough money is raised from donations, the referendum can go on next year’s ballot. In the meantime, I urge the library planners to look more seriously at following the recommendation of the professionals and bring us a plan that makes sense.
David Bartizal, Hudson
Consultant is ignored
The Hudson Area Joint Library Board hired the library-consulting firm of Robert H. Rohlf Associates for a space-needs assessment. Their July 2006 report cites the following recommendations:
1. Develop a building with a footprint of approximately 31,000 square feet.
2. Develop an entirely new one-floor building on a site no less than two acres with three acres preferred that has parking for 106 cars. A minimum of three acres would allow for a 31,000-square-foot building and needed parking, appropriate landscaping, book return and delivery areas as well as future expansion space.
The current NMC building is approximately 41,000 square feet, on three floors with about 45 parking spaces on one acre. It is not a suitable site for a library and is inconsistent with the recommendations.
Why did we pay these consultants if we are not going to take their advice?
Dolly Qualls, Hudson
Has issues with library
Last week’s headline read, “Supporters say cost of moving to proposed library is modest.” As with other referendums in the past, the HSO is again siding with those who wish to needlessly raise our taxes.
How in the world does someone think that raising my library tax by 300 percent is “modest”? As a resident of North Hudson, my library tax will triple.
What the people of North Hudson need to understand is that the cost of taking out that “free” video from our library will now go from $2.30 per video to $6.90. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
I hear the supporters of this significant tax increase clamoring that we somehow need more space and the current facility is inadequate. The library board wasted our hard-earned tax dollars hiring a consultant to give them the answer that they wanted. That is to say that we need more space. I wonder if this consultant would have much work if the answer came out a different way.
Do we need a new facility that is four times the size of the current one? Every time I’ve been to the library it has been sparsely populated. Our children have the use of the Internet for research and very few of them utilize the library for research purposes. Supporters of this tax increase want us to believe that placing the library in a huge building on the river will somehow bring people in by the droves.
In my opinion, the current library is sufficient. I’ve never had any trouble finding a parking spot. The facility has never seemed overcrowded to me. The programs offered seem to be appropriate for our community and people can get almost anything they want through the library consortium.
Tripling the library tax on North Hudsonites is far from modest.
What might be considered modest, though, is the amount of money that the Hudson Library Foundation has raised so far towards their goal of $4 million in private donations. I believe to date they have not even raised 20 percent of that total. In this case, actions certainly speak louder than words.
Please vote no on the upcoming library referendum.
Curt Weese, North Hudson
Supports new local library
On Nov. 4, we have the opportunity to establish a landmark library in Hudson which will add quality of life value to citizens, express community confidence and extend county pride to visitors.
The former NMC building on the corner of Vine and First streets is a remarkable structure with many skylights for natural light reading, study rooms, space for a larger collection of books and periodicals than now possible, and community rooms in the lower level. I’ve been inside many times. It’ll be a great library, well worth the small sacrifice.
Yes, these are tough times but I am more than willing to pay $24/$100,000 assessed value of our house (in our case less than $7/month) in order to have a first-class library that will be a landmark destination spot for all of us in the entire community.
I urge all citizens who take pride in Hudson’s pioneer history of schooling, planning for growth and voting for progress to share their convictions with their friends, neighbors and relatives and vote yes on both questions.
The new library will extend the pride of Wisconsin to every person visiting Hudson.
Harriet Gushue, Hudson
Dislikes library plan
There are many pressing issues pending in the coming election in November. The one that affects Hudson the most is how we decide whether or not to go deep into debt for the library we didn’t know would be on the agenda so swiftly.
We were conned into the plan by the Joint Library Board. In the last election we thought we were voting for a library, not the NMC building. That is a very important distinction from how the referendum was worded.
The referendum now will be binding and we will be stuck with the debt that many of us will never live to see paid off.
Once you vote, you can’t go back and change your mind. We have to decide first what our priorities for the future should be. We know we need more law enforcement officials, more firemen and more space for new equipment, we have to have funds to keep our streets in good condition and to keep them plowed through our long winter and we have a new school to pay for.
A “no” vote on this foolhardy effort to force that NMC building down our throats would help ensure our ability to accomplish what is important.
There is no urgent need at this time to make such a long-range commitment of such magnitude. At best it would take three years before any significant work could be undertaken. The current library has the ability to get most any books you want or need within a few days delivered to Hudson. They do a very good job even though conditions are not always the best.
I fear we will all have to make changes in our lifestyles until the financial mess our country is in now is turned around.
Jenebelle Houck Zappa, Hudson