Ill-suited for library

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2001

I could not have said it better than what Mr. Anderson wrote in the "My Turn" of Oct. 9. I too attended the meeting to voice my concerns about purchasing a parcel of land from Faith Lutheran with the intent of building a new library. My concerns are personal rather than political, for the purchase of the parcel of land and relocating or building a new library. I am concerned about our community and really what little control we have over what the Assembly does with our taxpaying dollars.

Mr. Wheeler stated in a "My Turn" on Oct. 10 that the community voted in 1983 to buy land for the purpose of building a new library. In 1985, the city purchased three acres at Diamond Park for a future library, a done deal, but due to planning it was not big enough. Back in 1983 (18 years ago), how much did voters approve? Money that was approved, was it spent on Diamond Park? Were funds approved by the voters? The parcel that they want now is located on "wetlands." What are the expenses going to be? How can you guarantee that access to Egan Drive will be a better solution? It's a nightmare trying to cross the street as is, and I should know because this proposed site is in my front yard.

What amazes me most is that the area in discussion is probably the most ill-suited place around. There is no street light (I'm sure that if this goes through the city will make sure we do have lights, but it's a shame they didn't bother to do it for the neighbors that pay property taxes). City buses run on the other side of the street so children that choose to take the bus will have to watch out for the traffic (but I'm sure that the city will rearrange the bus to deal with this issue). I'm wondering what the city will do for the neighborhood. Please don't tell me that my house will go up in value. I wasn't aware until last week that our neighborhood is in a "commercial zone." I can hardly wait to have a 7-11, Dairy Queen, etc. as my neighbors!

Analysis was completed in 1985, prior to purchasing Diamond Park. Back then there was a need for a large library. There was no personal computer and if you needed information you turned to the library. But let's be realistic: Technology has taken over and almost anything you need is on the Web. Don't you think that there should be another analysis done? Don't assume that what the community wanted 18 years ago is what the community wants now. In 1999, while discussing Diamond Park, Juneau residents liked the library in the Mendenhall Mall. Have you done an analysis in 2001 to determine if it needs to be relocated? What will the cost be? What are the costs to operate the Downtown Library, Douglas Library and the proposed site, also the proposed site vs. where it is now? I do know what is included in the rent: Electricity, heat, parking, snow removal, repairs and security, which will not be included in the new location. What are the costs to building the library vs. expanding? Expanding would be a better alternative, don't you think? Again, this should go back to the community to vote on, not the Assembly.

I feel that the community is not being informed of the issue at hand and questions need to be answered.

Lisa Peterson


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