New Library discussion
A couple years ago Montgomery County voters approved a Library Levy that will result in Huber Heights getting a new library. Huber Heights new facility is planned to be completed as part of the last phase of the County's plan. Over the last couple months I've asked the City Manager on a couple of occasions about how the city was interacting with the county on the development of the library location and amenities. As it turns out I had sent a message to the rest of council Sunday July 20th believing council should be more proactive in dealing with the County and in providing guidance to Staff. On Tuesday, in the Administration Committee meeting staff briefed a Revitalization plan which talked about the library, the City Water and Tax offices and the property located at Brandt Pike and Chambersburg where Big Lots used to be located. It also included a request for a $50,000 budget.
The Huber Heights Courier wrote an article on the discussion that occurred in the General Council meeting Council Focuses on Revitalization.
Look to the 22 July Administration Committee meeting minutes once they are published to see that discussion. Couple items of note: The City does not yet own nor have they negotiated for the property that was discussed. Library officials will make the decision on where the library is located but they will be looking for community input (which would include from city officials). The City currently leases the Tax and Water Office space.
I thought it important to know what the $50,000 would be spent on and made that request of the City Manager and received this reply:
Keep in mind, these are estimates, and just because we have an item listed does not mean we have intentions of spending that exact amount…these are best guess figures to get us started.
Phase I ESA – $3,500
Complete a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
Asbestos Survey – $5,000
Complete an asbestos survey for any property being considered for acquisition and demolition. An asbestos survey is necessary to obtain a demolition permit and we should know if there are abatement requirements associated with the properties.
Legal – $10,000
Preliminary review of title and other issues relative to potentially closing at a future date; discuss TIF and other finance matters
Land Plan & Artist Renderings – TBD $10,000
Develop a concept site plan along with bird’s eye view building plan. Look at potential outlot
Abatement of initial safety/hazard concerns and issues$20,000
Although costs of initial safety repair abatements are placed on taxes as an assessment, the up-front costs need to be covered
Printing, copies, etc
July 20th email to Council:
With the new County Library to be located in Huber Heights soon to be discussed, I think council should be also collecting input from staff and residents so council is prepared to provide appropriate input on location, size and other relevant characteristics so that our community is best served.
Karen / Judy could you please start the discussion in the Public Works Committee.
It would be appropriate for council to have staff survey possible locations and make a presentation to council so that council can be proactive with the county.
My initial thought is the strongest contender for the location of the new facility is near its current location. The positives of being in this area is many of the patrons that use the library frequently are in the area in cars, on bikes or walking because of the need to get to the schools.
I am unfamiliar with the status of the old library building and would like to know. Thinking outside of the box would include the Lamendola elementary school or even Community Park. Obviously, though my initial thought is to keep it South of Longford all locations in the city should be considered.
Additionally, it seems appropriate for the committee to get a summary of what the city has been involved with concerning the new library to date, and a general overview of the number of contacts between the city and library officials that have occurred since the library levy passed. We should also provide guidance to staff from council.
Commentary and Opinion (Tom McMasters): I am glad the staff is being proactive. I also believe it is important for the options to be discussed as a community. Also, this is an interesting exercise because since this option involves possibly acquiring property this is something that could have been kept out of public discussion until much further along in the planning process. There are many different positive outcomes to having this discussion in public. It may make that particular piece of property get upgraded from another interested developer. It may make it so the library's current land lord is more proactive in making sure the library stays there. It certainly gets the discussion underway.