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Council Gives Unofficial OK To Resolution Supporting Library Expansion

CHADRON – The Chadron City Council Monday night gave an unofficial go-ahead for a resolution supporting a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion plan for the city library.

Formal action will come when an actual resolution is drafted and presented for a vote, possibly as early as the next council meeting.

Library Board president Drew Petersen emphasized that his board, the Library Foundation, and the Friends of the Library group weren’t asking for any kind of financial commitment, only a resolution showing city support that could be used in seeking grants.

The Library Board had a design concept done in 2014 by Humphries Poli Architects in Denver following a series of public input meetings, but Petersen said more detailed drawings will be needed before any project could go to bid.

He added that the intent is, when the time comes, to use the Construction Manager At Risk approach used by Chadron State College for its projects in recent years.

Petersen said the Library Board remains committed to its pledge of several years ago that any library project would be done without local taxpayer money and that construction would not begin until all needed funding was in hand. The Library Foundation has about $400,000 but not specifically earmarked for that purpose.

The council had received more than a dozen letters of support ahead of the meeting from civic leaders and other residents, most of whom were on hand Monday night – although without speaking as they appeared more than content to leave that aspect to Petersen.

About the only disagreement on the overall subject of adding on to the original Carnegie library building constructed in 1913 came from councilman George Klein, who brought back a discussion held early last fall when the Library Board turned down a proposal to move to the old hospital building next to Wilson Park.

Klein questioned the rejection and the wisdom of keeping the library in a residential neighborhood that has limited parking, even with the Library Foundation now owning the 3 house due south of the library.

Petersen responded that the board had reviewed the hospital idea in detail and felt there were too many risks – including the possible costs of removing asbestos and other harmful materials from the building and site.