Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Future of existing library building now unclear

March 2, 2006

For two-plus decades, the building at 2812 N. 155th St. has been a "good home" to the Basehor Community Library, officials said.

And, Basehor residents Bob and Lela Wiley, who own the building, have been "excellent landlords" and served their community effectively and faithfully.

"Bob and Lela are excellent people," said Becky Knoche, a Basehor resident, who served on the library board of trustees for 11 years. "They've just done so much for the community, period."

At times, during the library's low-key campaign to pass a $2.99 million bond issue, a few red flags were raised by some community members after hearing comments made by library supporters that were critical of the building owned by the Wileys.

Though library officials contend there are problems with the building, they said the Wileys have been diligent, thoughtful partners for the last 21 years.

Knoche, who's been affiliated with the library since its inception, quashed any notion to the contrary. She reiterated the affection the library has for the Wileys.

"They are Basehor's number one citizens as far as I and the library are concerned," she said, adding, "They have always been so agreeable to do whatever we needed."

Now that voters have approved the bond issue, it's not clear exactly how long the library will remain at the current location. It is feasible, library director Carla Kaiser said, that a move could take place before the new facility on 158th Street is complete in two years.

"There are still some issues with our current building that are critical," she said. "The library board will be investigating the possibility of a temporary space."

A timetable for such a decision is not yet known, Kaiser said.

Since 1972, the Wileys have owned the building, a space that has traditionally been a lynchpin for Basehor's downtown. During the years, the building has housed a floral shop, grocery store, meat locker and has also been used to store insulation.

Bob Wiley said Wednesday he's made no definitive plans for what will happen to the building once the library vacates. He said people have contacted him who indicated "they'd like to talk to me about it."

That could mean the building could be leased or sold outright, he said.

"It's a little soon," Wiley said. "There is nothing definite."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.