Community members had an opportunity to get a first look at plans for a new library in New Richmond, Tuesday night, Feb. 15,
City Administrator Noah Wiedenfeld joined representatives Jeremy Novak and Danyelle Pierquet from Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions to present initial renderings of the multiple use development being proposed to house the library including residential units, townhomes and a small commercial complex just a couple blocks removed from downtown.
Wiedenfeld noted the historic connection between the site of the new library and education.
”It’s almost hard to believe driving by the site today, to remember that there was a very large school there for a hundred years. We’re very thankful that the school district, which has been working with the city of New Richmond, really wants this to be first and foremost the site for a library keeping in mind the idea that this site has served the community’s needs for many years with the primary focus on education,” Wiedenfeld said. “ If any of you here tonight have ideas about how to incorporate some of that history into the new building we’d love to hear your ideas.”
Novak walked the audience through a brief summary of how Three Sixty arrived at the
plans exhibited on several panels at the front of the room.
“The city has already identified that we’re going to build a library here. But we’re going to do some more with it (the site) in terms of a mixed use concept to help pay for the library upfront and then sustain it long term. We want to know, ‘What does the community want to see at this site in addition to a library?’” Novak asked.
A meeting with residents from the neighborhood immediately surrounding the library site and a second last November with the wider community yielded four themes: people focused, green space, housing and the library.
“This is a 70-75% concept plan. We’re not picking out paint colors at this point. We don't know the number of windows and frankly we don’t know the number of potential housing units that are going to be on here. Here is the idea based upon what the community said. This is what we’ve come up with, our best attempt,” said Novak.
The proposed development features a four-story main complex housing a 27,000-square-foot library with three stories of housing above and underground parking below, townhouses northeast of the library and a small commercial building on the southeast corner of the site. The plan proposes angle parking on streets abutting the site and a green corridor connecting The New Richmond Area Centre to the library to downtown.
Pierquet explained “people focused” as looking at who will be using the library for the next 20-30 years from youth to the elderly, how will they interact and where do their interests overlap. Her job as an architect and planner is to translate those needs and interests into form and scale.
“The images here tonight are meant to connect directly to the themes we heard from the community, people focused, market rate rentals, green space and the library. Here’s what we think that means. Now tell us what you think,” Pierquet said.
Three Sixty and the building committee will review public feedback from the Feb. 15 meeting, refine the concepts appropriately with the intention of getting the physical design closer to 90-95% complete before the next meeting. Keeping in mind the library has banked roughly $1M for the new building, the committee will begin to evaluate the mixed use financial equation to determine how much of “other use” it will take to pay for the library portion of the project.