Archive for Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ideas sought for redeveloping library

Companies prepare plans for updated cultural center

March 23, 2006

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It will be a little more than a month before supporters of a new or expanded Lawrence Public Library will know how much interest there is among developers for taking on the project.

About 20 companies in the Lawrence-Kansas City area and one in Nevada have been invited to submit proposals for the project that would make the library the centerpiece of downtown and also would include private development. Proposals also would be accepted from other firms that might see advertisements on the Web sites for the library and the City of Lawrence.

The deadline for proposals is May 4.

"We want to explore all options," library director Bruce Flanders said.

The request for proposals lists information the firms must provide in their plans, including descriptions of the library and any proposed private development and the necessary public improvements to support both.

The city will place a higher ranking on proposals that provide for additional off-street parking associated with the project.

"If the library is not adequately served in the redevelopment plan, that plan will be rejected," Flanders said. "There are just some things that have to take place for the library to feel comfortable."


Lawrence resident Dietrich Earnhart puts on a puppet show with stick figures and a shoe box that he and his daughter, Amanda, 3, created Wednesday afternoon during the Explore Art event at the Lawrence Public Library. Lawrence officials would like to either expand or enhance the existing site, 707 Vt., or build a new library downtown. Earnhart, who frequents the library, said, " I will happily pay more taxes to get a better library."

Lawrence resident Dietrich Earnhart puts on a puppet show with stick figures and a shoe box that he and his daughter, Amanda, 3, created Wednesday afternoon during the Explore Art event at the Lawrence Public Library. Lawrence officials would like to either expand or enhance the existing site, 707 Vt., or build a new library downtown. Earnhart, who frequents the library, said, " I will happily pay more taxes to get a better library."

Over the past few years, Flanders, city commissioners, members of a task force and consultants have been working to determine the city's library needs and how a new one might be built or the old one expanded at 707 Vt.

Consultants have found that the library, which opened in 1973, is inadequate for the city's needs today. For example, the library is 52,000 square feet, and a modern library for this city should have up to 140,000 square feet. Parking also is inadequate, and metered spaces are shared with patrons of the nearby Lawrence Senior Center and the Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center.

The request for proposals also asks firms to provide information about the financial viability of their proposals and prepare a feasibility study as required by law if tax increment financing would be involved. TIF is a mechanism for developers to use a combination of public and private money and, in return, lure development properties that would help pay debt services.

While firms were asked to suggest library proposals that tie in with downtown enhancement and would probably involve building at another site, the library's consulting firm, Gould Evans Associates, also is studying possibilities for expanding the library in the city-owned block at its current site.

Though no firm cost estimates for a library project have been made, $30 million would probably be the minimum necessary, Flanders said.

Once the proposals are received, a group will be appointed to review them. The review could take up to two months, Flanders said.

"We want to move fairly quickly on it because there is some momentum and strong interest, and we want to do a thorough job," he said.

Comments

LawrenceKSisgreat 9 years, 1 month ago

anyone having problems geeting to any other site beside LJW and SunflowerBB this morning? I cant find a probem reporting number anywhere? I have not been able to get to any other sites since 5:30 am today. A real problem reporting # seperate from the customer support # would be nice.

bookemdano 9 years, 1 month ago

Sunflower had a fiber cut, so all Sunflower Broadband internet customers are in the same boat. Supposed to be fixed by 10am.

Jamesaust 9 years, 1 month ago

I am amazed that a City agency that is in perpetual need of more funding and who now wants the City to be on the hook for constructing a new facility, refuses to consider the obvious cost savings of selling its existing site in the high value area of the downtown and relocating to a cheaper (and more city-central) location elsewhere. I suspect the land under its current site to be about as valuable per SQUARE FOOT as anywhere in the city.

dex 9 years, 1 month ago

give people what they want and reduce the cost of operation: rent out library space to starbucks. then the ljworld reporters can finally do research while they sip their mochas.

the consultants use an odd measure of "adequate", it seems to be based entirely on space. real measures for the real world might include demand for library resources: average queue line length at the circulation desk, % of books on loan at any given time, the willingness of the patrons to financially support the library, etc. none of these are mentioned, probably because none would indicate that an expansion is needed. from the article it sounds as if all that's really needed is a bigger parking lot.

property owners in lawrence should hold onto their wallets!

cowboy 9 years, 1 month ago

In this age of the internet , with actual printing close to obsolete , why are we wanting to spend so much on bricks and mortar , a technology center ok , a huge museum of print not !

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

The demise of printing has been predicted for some time, and has been perhaps greatly exaggerated. Some types of printed material, newspapers, magazines and the like, have already been replaced to some extent by digital media, and those types of publications will likely rely even more on the internet.

But there is still something about having a book in your hand that can't yet be replaced a video screen. The same goes for many technical and other scholarly journals that require high quality papers and very high resolution photos and graphics that require high-quality printers most people will never want to own individually.

There is also a problem of permanent storage with electronic media. While we have written records of various sorts going back thousands of years, no one knows how long a computer disk will remain readable-- very likely not in the thousands of years-- not that that should have much bearing on decisions on the new library.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

The new sewer treatment plant will cost more than twice that much for people most of whom don't even live here. And I bet there ain't 1000 people a day gonna visit that shthole, no matter now new it is.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

According to the display I got, my last post was made -1 year, 12 months ago. I guess that makes sense.

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