Plans For New Central Library In Wichita Move Slight Step Forward

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Plans for a new central library, at Second and McLean, in Downtown Wichita moved ahead this morning.

The Wichita City Council approved a motion to request building designs from architects. The building design services will take 12 months to complete, giving the City time to find funding for a new library.

Council members Pete Meitzner and Jeff Blubaugh voted against the motion citing concerns for funding the nearly $30 million project.

Some council members said their District Advisory Boards were against using bonds to fund the project, instead suggesting a temporary sales tax increase.

"How we pay for this has not been answered. The size and scope is questionable. This is not the right time," said Meitzner.

"We don't want to just spin our wheels. We need something so that we can look for funding. If the funding doesn't come, then we don't pay for the construction documents," said Jeff Longwell.

The first phase to create schematic designs will cost between $200,000 and $500,000.

In September 2006, the Council endorsed the Wichita Public Library Master Plan.

In November 2007, the Council adopted a $30 million bonding resolution, which initiated the Capital Improvement Project for a new Central Library.

The library has since been deferring maintenance repairs that total about $5.3 million. The improvements include items such as replacing the roof and carpet, as well as removing asbestos.

"We've got repairs that need to be made to that building. It just isn't going to be able to continue operating in a bandaided fashion forever," said Steve Roberts, president pro tem of the Wichita Public Libraries Board.

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