To the editor:
A recent letter to the editor suggested that the Gene Fritzel Construction Co. plan for library expansion involves using eminent domain to force the sale of private property for our benefit. This is not true. If the community decides to locate the library at this location, it will be for the community's benefit, not ours. We have no power to force any person to sell his or her private property. Only the city, through its power of eminent domain can make that decision. We proposed the site, in response to the city's RFP, because we believe it is the best site in downtown Lawrence for a public building. It should be noted that the alternate site we have proposed for the library (the site of the current U.S. Post Office) would not involve the taking of any private property.
In addition, there is an apparent misconception that our library plan will "cost" the city of Lawrence, and its taxpayers, money. This misconception ignores the revenue side of the equation. The Gene Fritzel Construction Co. plan proposes the formation of a Tax Increment Financing District which, by state law, allows tax dollars generated by new, private development in the district to be used to pay for necessary public infrastructure improvements, such as parking facilities. Under this plan, there will be no "cost" to the city or the taxpayers from the private development that will accompany the new library. To the contrary, new, private development will actually create the tax base necessary to pay for these much needed public improvements.