As immediate past president and former Bloomington Public Library board member, I urge city leaders to continue analysis of the downtown task force's findings.
The current library is away from major traffic routes and awkward to reach by foot or car. Past studies have shown the building to contain inadequate space for community-desired programming and services. The parking lot is hazardous. With no sidewalk leading to the building entrance, children and adults are required to walk in the lane for vehicle traffic.
Moving to a more visible location would allow library patrons to enjoy various downtown restaurants, shops and cultural institutions with ease. The library attracts 1,000 people per day (350,000 per year) this could provide a considerable boost to those businesses and institutions. A consistent opinion was expressed in expansion study focus groups that the library would benefit from a location with greater continuity to downtown.
The cost of current site expansion as opposed to relocation may be comparable if not greater. Current site expansion includes relocation of public works with potential cost in the millions. Consequently, building or rehabbing at another downtown location could be less expensive than current on-site expansion. The proposed development of the Market Street garage would involve reuse of city property. It would bring together multiple community needs into a single project. Also, partnering with Connect Transit could potentially open access to federal funding for the project.
Continued attention to the task force findings is the next practical step.
Carol Koos, Bloomington