Archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Library expansion timeline

May 10, 2006


Here is a timeline of events leading to the possible library expansion:

¢ 1998: Lawrence Public Library makes plans for a "satellite" library in a west Lawrence storefront, with a small book collection and Internet access.

¢ 2001-2003: In the face of tight budgets, the Lawrence City Commission repeatedly defers plans to open the satellite but sets aside $200,000 in city funds for a future opening.

¢ April 2004: A task force convenes to plan possible expansion of the library.

¢ May 2004: Officials announce that plans for the satellite branch have been scrapped, with members of the Lawrence City Commission saying that library services should be exclusively downtown. Library director Bruce Flanders asks that $100,000 of the satellite money be used for a consultant to help the agency plot its future.

¢ December 2004: The task force announces three downtown sites as a possible home for a new library: the existing site in the 700 block of Vermont Street, the 800 block of New Hampshire Street and the 1000 block of New Hampshire.

¢ Fall 2005: Consultants host a series of public meetings to solicit community input on possible expansion.

¢ February 2006: Consultant Jeffrey Scherer unveils a report saying a new, bigger library could cost the city $30 million to build, and that the library's annual operating budget should increase by $1 million a year from $2.6 million. The library's board begins soliciting proposals from developers.

¢ Week of May 8-12: Four developers unveil proposals to include a library in downtown redevelopment projects; each would cost taxpayers at least $40 million.

¢ May 15: A committee of city officials and library leaders will review each proposal and list pros and cons of each; the first meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday at City Hall.

¢ June 8: 9 a.m. study session by the Lawrence City Commission on the issue; no decision is expected.

¢ April 2007: Bond issue election possible to get public approval for the $40 million project.


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