Government

Marion council to weigh $7 million in bonds for new library

Library foundation will seek $3 million in private pledges

The Marion Public Library at 1095 Sixth Ave. is to be sold to help pay for a new $18 million library to be built across the street. The Marion City Council on Thursday will consider issuing $7 million in bonds for the construction, scheduled to begin next winter. (The Gazette)
The Marion Public Library at 1095 Sixth Ave. is to be sold to help pay for a new $18 million library to be built across the street. The Marion City Council on Thursday will consider issuing $7 million in bonds for the construction, scheduled to begin next winter. (The Gazette)
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MARION — The Marion City Council is expected to approve a financing plan that will have the city directing $15 million toward construction of a new Marion Public Library.

The city council will vote Thursday on approving $7 million in bonds for the project. Another $5 million is to come from the city’s local-option sales taxes.

The sale of the current library at 1095 Sixth Ave. should bring in another $3 million.

Private donations and fundraising are to provide $3 million.

Hollie Trenary, director of the Marion Public Library, on Thursday also will present the new plan for the library, which will be built on the Katz lot, the block between the existing library and Marion City Hall.

During a city council work session Tuesday, Trenary asked for the council’s support, saying the library can’t start a private fundraising campaign until the public funding is secured.

Marion City Manager Lon Pluckhahn said the goal “is to bond for as little of the project as we have to because of the long-term effect on property taxes.”

The bond sale, he said, could be split over two calendar years, which could moderate the impact on the levy, Pluckhahn said.

Ideally, he said, the Marion Public Library Foundation will handle the pledges and make a donation to the project.

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Trenary said the foundation is “100 percent onboard” with handling the pledges, possibly securing a loan to be paid off with pledges.

Construction of the new library is planned to begin next winter, with a tentative move-in date of late summer 2022.

The new library will have to be built before the old one can be vacated and sold.

The library would have 30 days to move into the new building before the city could close on the sale of the old library, based on a construction schedule prepared by Engberg Anderson Architects.

The city, which owns the current library, will begin searching for a buyer of the current library in January 2020. The money from that sale would help close out construction costs, Pluckhahn said, adding there is no budget for temporary relocation of the library.

NEW LIBRARY DETAILS

Plans show the new library would be built flush with Sixth Avenue, with parking in the back.

The first floor would house the children’s department, which will include an “active learning area” with enough activities for parents and children to “camp out” all day, Trenary said.

Trenary talked about “bringing the outside in,” with roll-up doors on the first floor that would open to a plaza facing 11th Street. The library, she said, would “greatly benefit” if the city were to partially close 11th Street between Sixth and Fifth avenues.

The teen section will be on the second floor, where a patio will overlook City Square Park.

Throughout the library, there will be more meeting, study and conference rooms available than in the current building, which opened in 1996, where library staff and the public share a conference room.

The library will have a lot of flexible space, Trenary said, which will allow it to bring in exhibits, with public art on display inside and outside.

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A recent survey conducted by the Uptown District showed that the library is the second highest driver of foot traffic in Uptown, Trenary said.

“We know we’re a big draw to Uptown, and we want to continue to nurture that and grow that,” Trenary said. “I’ve said many times before, give this community the library it deserves.”

Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

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