Monday, November 8, 2010
Library Expansion: At a Glance
On November 15, 2010, the Robertson County Commission will likely vote on funding the expansion of the Gorham-MacBane Public Library.
This proposal moved through the Budget Committee for further discussion by the entire County Commission.
What we have before the County Commission is a $6 million project for upgrade and expansion. The project encompasses much more than just brick and mortar buildings and expansion. The project encompasses much more than more shelves for more books. The project encompasses so much more in that it is boot-strapping the Gorham-MacBane Public Library from a facility that was last substantially upgraded decades ago.
Many of the concerns that have been shared with me have to do with the "need" of the expansion and upgrade. Candidly, I think this is out of the question in that the expansion and upgrade is long overdue. Whether Robertson County "needs" this expansion is an entirely different question.
The project will require $2 million from the County. The remaining $4 million being matched by funds raised by the Gorham-MacBane Public Library, and the City of Springfield, respectively.
Though, it is not as simple as allocating the funds. For the County to contribute, it would first be required to borrow more money since we are currently operating on a deficit.
Also, the City of Springfield has not completely guaranteed that they will match. Likely, it will be the County's leadership that will determine what the City of Springfield will do in this regard, though this is not guaranteed.
What I would like to see is a tiered plan that would allow this project to be undertaken over some length of time.
This question was posed at the presentation to the Budget Committee on Thursday, November 4th. It was discouraged since it would pose difficulties in operating the library during protracted construction projects over periods of time.
Candidly, I can sympathize with representatives of the library since this project has been discussed and bantered about for the better part of ten years. Nevertheless, many smart people failed to predict or see this economic downturn that is affecting us all. I think with the resources we have, we have to develop some responsible means through which we approach this or any other project.