When I heard that the South Euclid-Lyndhurst public library was going to spend $12.6 million to build a new library, it did not sound like a particularly good idea to me.
But, in order to be fair and to gather the facts about the issue, I called and spoke with Sari Feldman, the director of the Cuyahoga County Library, to get further details. I also checked on the Library’s web site and read the report about the costs to make necessary repairs to the current library buildings-the Telling mansion, cottage and carriage house. These buildings are on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
Ms. Feldman explained that it will cost $12.6 million for the new building as opposed to $5 million to upgrade the current library, carriage house and cottage. The needed repairs for these 3 buildings are described, in detail with photographs, in the report written by Bostwick Design, available on the library web site. You will find nothing shocking there. The $5million includes all necessary repairs to all 3 buildings: addition of an elevator, increased ADA compliance, increased parking (currently there are 59 spaces), window replacement, etc.
Homeowners already pay $77 a year for the library in taxes per $100,000 valuation of their property. How much more will they have to pay in taxes in the future for a new building that costs $7.6 million MORE than upgrading the unique and gorgeous library they already have?
When I talked to a friend of mine about the proposed new library building and the Cuyahoga County Library’s Facilities Master Plan” he said “this sounds like legacy building to me”. Maybe some people deserve legacies, perhaps Ms. Feldman is one of those people, I honestly don’t know.
Actually, I’m not sure this whole thing is legacy building, but I am very sure building a new library is solving a problem that is not there.
In reality it will be creating more problems: loss of jobs and loss of greenspace and increased storm water management problems.
I was told that the proposed building will require less staff than the current building, which has a complicated floor plan necessitating more workers.
Additionally, the proposed location is across from Green Road; building there will destroy greenspace and cause watershed problems along the vulnerable banks of Nine Mile Creek. This is the exact same geographic area where we all spent $1.2 million in 2008 to construct the Langerdale Basin in order to manage flooding. We spent $1.2 million to prevent flooding, now we will spend $12.6 million on a project that will encourage flooding in the same area.
If you would like to express your opinion on this issue, Ms. Feldman can be reached during work hours at 216.749.9490; she does not have voicemail. If you want to leave a message, you must call her assistant’s phone, 216-749-9483. And, please don’t forget to let the Library Board members know how you feel about this important issue. They can be reached via email at the following addresses:
Robert W. Varley
Maria L. Haller
Edward H. Blakemore
Susan M. Adams
Leonard M. Calabrese
Dale D. Powers
We all come to our own conclusions as we try to make sense of the world. My conclusion is that the Cuyahoga County Public Library wants to abandon a beautiful and historic building that will cost them less than half the amount of money ($5mil) to fix up as it will to build a new one ($12.6 mil) because they suffer from that dreaded disease—too much money!