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Support is building for 'Lakefront Library'

Picture this -- the Hudson Lakefront Library sharing a corner with The Phipps Center and the beautiful St. Croix River.

For members of the Hudson Library Foundation and a growing number of supporters around the community, the idea seems like a perfect fit.

Members of the foundation, led by president Hollis Grubb, vice president Bye Barsness, secretary Susie Gilbert and treasurer Jeff Zais, are gearing up for an information campaign in preparation for the April 1 non-binding advisory referendum seeking support for the use of public funds "to jointly pay for acquiring, developing and operating a new joint library at 700 First St."

The total cost of the project, including purchase of the building now occupied by Nuclear Management Co., has been estimated at $9.5 million, an estimated half of which is expected to come from area foundations and benefactors. The balance would be shared by taxpayers from the municipalities that jointly support the library. That includes Hudson, North Hudson and the towns of St. Joseph and Hudson. The cost to taxpayers would be an estimated $24 more annually per $100,000 of assessed property value.

The town of Troy is not a member of the joint library, but town residents do contribute to the operation of the Hudson library through a library tax paid to the county. They will have a chance to vote on the referendum, but their question does not include any of the operating expenses of the new library (see accompanying story).

Enthusiastic response

Gilbert said the response she and other foundation members have received about the project has been very positive, and individuals and professionals from throughout the community have volunteered to help get the word out in advance of the vote.

"Every person I have talked with about it has been so enthusiastic about the idea. There's no hesitation. People just love the idea and think it is a chance we just can't pass up. They just want to know how they can help," said Gilbert.

To that end, Tricia Christiansen of Christiansen Creative of Hudson has developed a logo and slogan that will appear on a Web site and information pieces being developed. Brenda Bredahl, a communications consultant for Word and Image in Hudson, is writing those pieces and working with Christiansen on the Web site. Other volunteers are working to inform and involve as many other individuals and groups as possible in support of a new "Lakefront Library."

Gilbert said she hopes that young people will also join the effort, getting both their parents and their peers excited about a new library that would include not just space for more books, but more computers, more work area and more meeting space.

Gilbert believes that both the location and the building are ideally suited to meet Hudson's need for a bigger and better library. "This is an incredible opportunity for us and we won't have a chance like this again. I know it is a hard time to think about raising taxes, but we have to look at this as an investment that will benefit Hudson for years to come. And if we don't do this now, the costs will just keep going up as the years go by."

For more information, or to get involved with the proposed "Lakefront Library," contact Gilbert at (715) 386-6173 or go online at

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604