Twenty-five years ago, there was vociferous objection to the city buying land on the waterfront and "taking it off the tax rolls." That's where Marine Park is now. Today that looks like vision.
Theoretically, there is $1.3 million available for the acquisition of library and community arts facility sites. In 1983, Juneau voted for a five-year sales tax increase, one of the stated purposes being acquisition of land for "library sites and community arts facility site." The plan was to have a Valley library in the Dimond Park area where we have now sited sports fields and two schools.
Fortunately, land was purchased early in the Dimond Park area, partially paid for with that sales tax money, because it proved to be the only reasonable place to site two schools. However, there is now not enough room for a library. That leaves us with no planned site for a permanent library to serve more than one-half of the library patrons.
A minority of the city's library patrons has two permanent library facilities: Juneau Memorial Library and the Douglas Library. Just what is the plan for a permanent facility in the Valley for the majority of library patrons? We've been delighted to have a functioning, though limited, library in the mall, but these quarters are temporary and not a permanent solution.
The Valley has always had to fight for library facilities. Thirty years ago, the Valley's first public library was placed in Floyd Dryden Middle School. Much later, money was appropriated to establish a mall library for the Valley.
Land now under consideration for a library site is reasonably priced and already non-tax-paying land because it is church-owned. Other proposed sites are much more expensive and are on the tax rolls.
The need for a site for a permanent Valley Library was seen in 1983 - almost 20 years ago. Isn't it time to keep faith with those of us who voted for a sales tax increase in 1983 to finally see a Valley library site?
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