Tuesday June 27, 2006
-City identifies, purchases land for three regional libraries-
-Construction will follow public input on design, features-
Mayor Jerry Abramson today said the city has taken the biggest steps in expanding the Louisville Free Public Library system in nearly four decades by identifying and purchasing land for three new regional libraries.
Louisville Metro Government will buy two parcels of prime real estate adjacent to major retail centers and use a historic property the city already owns for the regional libraries. When built, the regionals will be three- to four-times the size of the average branch library to serve rapidly growing suburban areas.
“These regional libraries will become hubs for life-long learning,” Abramson said. “These locations were strategically chosen so that, together with our Main Library, nearly all of our citizens will be within five miles of significant and high-quality library resources.”
In February, Abramson proposed investing $2 million from a one-time Louisville Water Company dividend to purchase land for new regional libraries. Library officials negotiated the land purchases after evaluating and rating several sites located in the three suburban areas defined in the Library’s Master Facilities Plan, a blueprint for library enhancements across the city that was endorsed by the mayor and Metro Council.
The Southwest Regional Library will be built on a 4.1-acre parcel at Dixie Highway and Kendall Road, adjacent to the Meijer store. Property owner Holiday Station Associates Ltd., which is associated with the Kaden Companies of Louisville, agreed to a $1.64 million purchase price and will reduce the price $434,600 as a donation to the community.
The South Central Regional Library will be built on a 4.8 acre parcel at the intersection of Jefferson Boulevard and McCawley Road near a major retail center that includes Jefferson Mall, Target and Ashley Furniture. Property owner Jefferson Fringe L.P., agreed to a $1.45 million purchase price and will reduce the price $290,280 as a donation to the community.
The Northeast Regional Library will be built on the north end of the historic Bellevoir property at 1 Bellevoir Circle off Hurstbourne Parkway. Metro Government owns the 13.4-acre property, so there is no cost for land acquisition. The 140-year old Bellevoir House will remain on the property.
Library Director Craig Buthod said the three sites were rated the highest of all properties considered by the Library Commission’s planning committee.
“These sites all provide remarkable accessibility and visibility, and will serve large numbers of people because of their location – some of the key features we looked for in choosing the future homes of our regional libraries,” Buthod said.
Input sought for future of libraries
Abramson said the Library will seek public input to help determine what offerings the regional libraries should include, what they should look like and how they should be constructed and financed. He said new, innovative approaches to funding and building libraries could be considered.
“We want to hear from the citizens about what they want in a new library – and that will help determine the best approach to bring that vision to reality,” Abramson said.
Buthod said public forums will be planned in the coming months. In addition, the planning process will get a jump start in July when the Library will host the MIT Design Lab and the Americans for Libraries Council for a “charrette” – a workshop with several national and local architecture, design, education and library experts to examine the future of libraries, in light of changes in technology and how communities use libraries. The results of the two-day charrette will be presented at a public meeting at the Main Library on July 18, and are expected to have value to library planners across the country.
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