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April 1, 2020

3/3/2020 10:10:00 AM
Dodgeville Library Yes, then get it right

Dear Editor:
Do we need a better library? Yes. As has been put forward the library has a lot to offer us and it could do so much more. Are they doing it right - NO.
Design - Not unlike the school that has a huge glass wall in the library that has to have shades due to too much sun light and high ceilings that make climate control difficult, or the entrance with overhead extensions that serve no purpose, or the balcony on the HHS County building, the proposed library needs to be attractive but more importantly functional. Let's design for function and put the money where it will do the most good. Have the Library Board list what they need, we don't need the people who are getting paid more for unneeded "fluff" telling us we need inefficient, non-productive details.
Location - Can you do any worse? If you are expanding this much, you will need the same (or greater) expansion in parking. It seems that we have 25 spaces at the current facility and it's often full, so I would estimate the demands for the new library parking would be 100 spaces or about ½ of the proposed site's available spaces (and that's before you stuff a building on the property. Are you going to buy half the property to guarantee patron parking? What happens if the mall property owner sells off the property or there is a change in the tenancy? Will this be like the courthouse lot where local businesses were told the employees and customers can't park there? Sorry, no business in the courthouse, no parking.
Why the current spot? It's probably the second highest traffic area in the city other than Downtown. As we hope more kids will be using it, let's put the library in a safe place where the kids are.
Better locations - First, put it on property the residents already own. Some choices: The second athletic area east of the water tower. It's perfectly situated between the 3 schools in a lower traffic area, we could have a Campus environment like Edgewood Schools in Madison and it would benefit from the synergy and abilities like ease of very high speed internet. It is equidistant for all the school kids to walk to and should schools need more space they can shift resources to the "Learning Resource Center". Oh, that field? I walked past it every other day for 12 years and I would give a best estimate of it getting less than an hour a day use MAX (and only in warm weather). Move the sports to the SE corner where you'll have access to enough space for bleachers on both sides of the field or improve the existing lighted field.
Another choice: The SE corner of the school property. This is the same situation though a bit further for the middle schoolers. Third choice, the extra land we have at the middle school. Why do we buy large chunks of land and spend thousands every year on grounds maintenance for "a nice front yard"? Finally, Centennial Park, again in a community, parking is available 90% of the time as it is now. Let's quit buying property when we have so much available. Let's look at building a library with the end results in mind.
Do we need a better library, yes. Are we even close to doing it right, NO.
John Curran

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