NEW RICHMOND -- There was applause even some actual cheers following a decision by the New Richmond City Council to build the new library at site No. 2 also known as the old middle school.
“If you take the long view, wanted to look at the value of your investment into the future and of the two sites which one really has staying power and which would be the best investment, for us, hands down, it’s the new building,” said Rick McCarthy, senior associate at Studio GC.
Library Board President Gordon Granroth explained that at his board’s meeting Tuesday, Aug. 20, members voted unanimously to recommend site No. 2 to the council.
Interim Library Director Jennifer Rickard briefly reviewed the process that led to the long-awaited decision. A total of three community meetings, one in June and two in July, enabled community members to participate directly in determining what the library should be in terms of services and facility and where it should be built.
Some 260 people participated in the vote to determine on which site to build the new library: 90.4% or 235 people voted in favor of the old middle school site more recently known as the Community Commons compared to 9.6% or 25 people who voted to remodel and expand the old library.
City Administrator Mike Darrow explained that at the September board meeting, staff will layout a financial overview of the project now that the site has been selected, both from the capital improvement perspective as well as a 10-15 year operational cost perspective.
Alderman Mike Montello made the historic motion Aug. 26 at the joint council and library meeting: “Mr. Mayor, I’ll offer a motion that pursuant to the New Richmond School District’s extension of our development agreement, that we endorse approving option 2 for the future of the new community library.”
Alderman Jim Zajkowski seconded the motion adding some historical context.
“I’ll second that after 20 years of going through a lot of different building sites and everything else. I thank the Library Board for all their diligence right now and we’re ready to move forward on the new library finally.”
With that, the council voted 5-1 with Alderman Kirk Lindell dissenting to approve site No. 2.
Contingent upon review by the city’s attorney, the council went onto approve Contract B101-2017 with Studio GC totaling $360,680.00 for design and construction services and Contract B253-2019 also with Studio GC totaling $50,850.00 for furnishings, furniture and equipment.
Mayor Fred Horne thanked everyone for their hard work and then reminded them. “This has actually been the easy work, the hard work is yet to come.”
New Richmond City Council next meets 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, in the New Richmond Civic Center.