In the crazy world in which we live, a blog looking to make sense of it all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Library Mess

For starters, I was against the library expansion from the start. It's not that I don't like libraries, it's just that I don't think our city is in sufficient financial health to take on an expansion such as this. There are just other more dire needs that should get priority. Not to mention, once our taxes go up for this expansion, they will stay there permanently; even after the expansion is complete and paid off.

I do commend the library board for how they carried out its research and planning for this expansion. To me, it sounds like they've done their homework very well. But now let the city council get involved and all the good work that had been done is getting unravelled. That sounds about right for Peoria.

In today's Journal Star, it was somewhat reassuring to read the responses from Mayor Jim Ardis and Councilman Bob Manning. At least it shows they realize the deficits the city is facing as well as other needs, including repairing the sewer overflow project. Also in today's Journal Star was a letter to the editor describing what I think are excellent reasons to locate a new, north branch library in the old K's Merchandise building. I favored that site because of its location to neighborhoods. But this writer listed many other great reasons, including a viable bus route, location to restaurants and a day care center.

The library board, from it's research, is leaning towards the old Festival Foods building or a new building adjacent to the new Sud's dealership on Allen Rd. I favor the K's site myself, but would not be totally opposed to the Festival Foods location. The Allen Rd location does not make sense to me as the library board would need to build a totally new facility as opposed to retrofitting an existing building. The city council's ideas even make less sense; first to use eminent domain power to locate a library at the current Elliott's on University Street (which I believe is uncalled for because there are many other alternatives available, ie the old and vacated Chantilly Lace) and now a new building at Exposition Gardens.

Since I originally voted no in the library referendum, but the result was 72% in favor, I would much rather see just existing libraries expanded somewhat and updated. We need to realize that Peoria is not made of money and we must live within our means. Perhaps we can trade a Riverplex or Gateway Building for a north branch library.

Common Sense of it All: It's starting to look like it will be a long while to get library expansion going now that the city council has been involved.