Sunday, March 20, 2011

One of the surprises in the memo from the City Manager...

included in the back-up memo for the 3/21/11 meeting on the budget cuts, is the following item regarding the library building. Note particularly the part that is highlighted:

With all this talk about city buildings and their future use, it got me thinking that Song and Associates did a study on utilization, condition and future facility needs for the city not too long ago.  I was able to find the Phase I report, but am having trouble tracking down the Phase II report.  If any one has luck finding it, forward it to me and I will create a link to it.  I forwarded the Phase I report to Ms. Stanton.  While realizing her disdain for the past, if she hasn't seen this report, she should read it.  I believe the Phase II report recommended that the current City Hall is best suited for use as a library.

You can see that the City Manager is looking at having the City Hall Annex building house the library - thinking that it is a "great" building for it.  According to the Phase I report, the architects found the Annex to be in poor condition with a great deal of damage from wood-eating insects and general rot.  The report also goes into a square footage analysis about the ultimate size of a library for a city the size of Lake Worth.  They recommended that a building three times the size would be ideal for our library.

What would the current library building be used for if not for a library?  It is landlocked by other buildings so expansion isn't possible.  It is most definitely historic and probably eligible for an individual listing on the National Register.  It gets a little scary that we are a city in a state of "financial urgency" and the future of the library building may be in limbo.  

I remember the uproar when the Lucerne had to eliminate the windows on the east side of the building due to the proximity of the property and the possibility of a future building being built on the library property.  This was caused by the building code and fire safety considerations.  But the conspiracy theorists, especially at election time, wove a tall tale about how this meant that the library building was soon to be demolished.  How strange that those holding the cards now might just propose that.  It would be a terrible mistake.  Perhaps some sort of adaptive re-use would be possible?