Archive for Thursday, September 2, 2004

Library aims to try for another bond issue vote

September 2, 2004

Barring overwhelming opposition to a future bond issue, officials with the Basehor Community Library will again go before voters seeking funding authority to pay for a new facility on 158th Street, library director Carla Kaiser said.

Patron input gathered from a four-question survey scheduled to be mailed Wednesday will help determine the scope of the next bond proposal, the library director added.

"Our intent is to try again for a new facility," Kaiser said. "The size, cost and length of the bond will be determined by the survey."

The survey will be mailed to approximately 2,000 of the 7,000 residents living within the 50-square-mile library district. Those receiving the questionnaire will include all voters that cast a ballot during a failed library bond issue proposal in April and a random selection of one per every four registered voters in the library district.

"We want to make sure everyone who voted has a chance to tell us what they liked, what they didn't like," Kaiser said.

Since the failed bond issue, library officials have explored at least one other option for finding more space. A building currently vacant located south of the library on 155th Street was toured as a possibility for housing some of the library services and programs.

The building formerly housed a pizza and barbecue restaurant.

"We looked at it because we had some people ask us about that," Kaiser said. "We were hearing that question and we didn't want to just dismiss it. But we all felt it was going to be inadequate."

Library architectural consultants determined the site would lock the library into a small lot with no room for expansion and would not provide ample parking. It was also determined by architects that fusing the two buildings together would be difficult and not very practical cost-wise.

In April 2002, Basehor residents Ray and Anne Breuer donated an three-acre tract to the library on 158th Street, near the Prairie Gardens residential development. As part of the donation agreement, construction of a new facility has to begin within five years of the donation or the land reverts back to the original owners.

Kaiser said no date has been discussed as a possibility for another bond issue proposal and that library officials are undeterred by notions that the clock is ticking. Instead, the library's brain trust is considering ways to improve upon the flaws of the previous bond issue, according to its opponents, so that mistakes of the past can be avoided in the future, Kaiser said.

Gathering information from patrons through the survey is one way to begin that process, she said.

"We really want to take care to make sure that everyone is informed," Kaiser said. "We want to identify issues that people voiced (in the campaign and subsequent vote) and to have room to change if we've missed an issue somewhere."

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