Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2004

Proposed site beneficial, library site

Purchasing land for new library would have cost more than $200,000

March 11, 2004

In some circles, the location for a proposed new Basehor Community Library has been a source of contention. The proposed site, on 158th Street south of the current library, will be difficult for people to walk to, some have argued.

However, library officials defended the proposed site this week, saying the benefits of the proposed location outweigh its disadvantages.

On April 6, voters living within the library district, approximately 50 square miles, will vote on a $3.79 million library bond issue. The funds would pay for a new 21,000-square-foot facility on 158th Street.

The site on 158th Street, a three-acre tract donated by Basehor residents Ray and Anne Breuer, will only affect a small percentage of people who visit the library by walking. Library officials estimate less than 5 percent of patrons walk to the library for visits.

"Because of the size of our library district, no matter where we are, only a small percentage will be within walking distance," library director Carla Kaiser said.

And less foot traffic means more people are driving to the library, a tricky practice considering the amount of parking spaces available.

Since its inception in 1985, the library's square footage, collection and circulation has more than doubled; the circulation alone today is more than 10 times what it was in 1985.

Only one number remains the same at the library: parking spaces available. There are just six parking spaces available to visitors.

According to the standards for Kansas public libraries, a library with a circulation such as Basehor's -- 59,130 per year -- should have 22 to 42 parking spaces available.

The proposed new library would offer 45 to 71 parking spaces.

Also, the proposed site will offer convenience in the form of more than just ample parking. Kaiser said the site is located centrally to the entire library district, has easy access to major thoroughfares and is located near existing and future commercial developments.

"We'll be close by so we can be another stop when you're running errands," Kaiser said.

The proposed site on 158th Street has one more feature that beats all others, price. At one time, the library considered purchasing three-acres on 155th Street for a new facility but balked when the asking price came in north of $200,000.

The land on 158th Street was obtained in April 2002 for $1.

"So we know that was all money we saved," Kaiser said.

A provision of the land transaction is that construction of a new library must begin with five years of the donation.

If approved by voters April 6, the new library, designed as an expandable facility, will feature a community meeting room, children, young adult and adult book sections, administrative offices and a used book store.

The total estimated cost of the new library is $3.85 million, however, $60,000 of that sum will be paid for by library funds acquired from land sales and donations.

A breakdown of the price tag is shown below:

  • $3.5 million for construction and equipment.
  • $270,500 for professional fees.
  • $63,500 for issuance expenses.

According to estimates, an approved bond issue would increase the library district's mill levy by 7.79 mills; the current mill levy is 3.23 mills. The bond issue would be repaid over a 10-year period.

Residents with homes valued between $100,000 and $200,000, could expect a monthly tax increase between $7 and $15, if the bond issue is approved.

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