Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Voters OK bond issue to build new library

March 2, 2006

Good vibrations.

That's what observers were picking up Tuesday at Kelley's Bar and Grille in Basehor. A chorus of smiles and applause erupted from inside the restaurant, which doubled as Election Night headquarters. And there certainly was cause for celebration.

Final vote totals, posted on a whiteboard propped inside the restaurant's front doors, told the story. The numbers indicated that the Basehor Community Library had accomplished something few groups from this area have before.

They convinced voters to approve a bond issue.

"You deserve better," library board of trustees president Janice Garcia told the pro-library crowd Tuesday, "and tonight, you got it."

Patrons of the 50-square-mile library district approved the bond issue by nearly 2-to-1-- 849 to 435. Plus, in a feat even more rare than approving a bond issue, the ballot question swept each of the four voting precincts.

Funds from the $2.99 million in bonds will be used to build and outfit a new library on 158th Street, inside the Prairie Gardens subdivision.

Overall, 1,284 votes were cast in Tuesday's election. According to the county clerk, that number represents 23 percent of the registered voters within the library district.

The collective spirit of high tidings didn't wane after the totals were announced.

A half-hour after the votes were posted, two of the library's top tier officials -- Garcia and library director Carla Kaiser -- made their way into Kelley's.

They had been at the Leavenworth County Courthouse monitoring the vote count. They arrived at the restaurant to a standing ovation, a greeting fit for conquering heroes.

"Thank you!" Kaiser shouted. She added, "Your support was phenomenal. ... Because of your support, we are where we are today."

"We cried at the courthouse," Garcia added.

Library officials have long contended that their building in downtown Basehor, home to the library since its inception in 1985, had become ill-equipped to serve a burgeoning community.

In a tandem speech Tuesday evening, Kaiser and Garcia said a new building will signal a new chapter for the library and the people it serves.

"The possibilities are just going to open up the entire community," Kaiser said.

"I'm overwhelmed with the thought of all the services we'll be able to provide. ... I read about a Smithsonian exhibit somebody had, and now we can get that."

Garcia added, "(Patrons) will know what we knew all along, that there is something good inside (the library)."

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