City staff instructed to concentrate on Dimond Park for new library location

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2001

The city will reconsider Dimond Park as a site for a new Mendenhall Valley library before looking at other locations.

Juneau Assembly members this week directed city staff to concentrate on studying the Dimond Park complex and the possibility of combining a proposed recreation center with a new library.

Site studies for Faith Lutheran Church, the Mendenhall Center, Vintage Business Park and Goldbelt property in the Valley will be placed on hold. The current Valley library is in leased space in the Mendenhall Center shopping mall.

A new high school and recreation center are in current plans for the city-owned Dimond Park complex. A joint school-community library originally was part of the Dimond Park Master Plan, but was taken out in 1999 because of a lack of space and support, Deputy City Manager Donna Pierce said.

An initial review shows room for a combination rec center-library, and a joint facility likely would mean lower costs for shared parking and utilities, Pierce said.

"This is looking extremely feasible based on the criteria in our review," she said.

A gym and swimming pool are included in plans for the two-story rec center. A library could go on the second floor, or the footprint of the rec center could be expanded, Pierce said.

City Manager Dave Palmer said the city's first obligation is to evaluate sites it already owns. If Dimond Park won't work, the city will need to issue its criteria for selecting a new site, accept proposals, score them and move forward, he said.

Assembly members agreed with the suggestion.

"I'd like to see us finish the study of Dimond Park before we consider anything else," Randy Wanamaker said. "It seems a prudent thing to do."

In addition to the five sites the Assembly was looking at earlier this month, Lyle's Home Furnishings has offered to lease or sell its building and land at 2093 Jordan Ave. for a library. Assembly member Jeannie Johnson suggested the Lyle's building be considered as the city evaluates lease options.

Pierce expects city staff members will report back to the Assembly in January with more information about putting a library at Dimond Park.

Earlier this fall, the Assembly voted to purchase 2.6 acres near Faith Lutheran Church for a new library or other public purpose. A public hearing on an ordinance that would de-appropriate the money is scheduled for Dec. 3.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.



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