Potential plans for a possible addition to the Cromine District Library were presented to members of the community on Monday for viewing and feedback.
Presented by Dan Whisler from Penchansky Whisler Architects out of Ann Arbor, the current design shows a more scaled back plan from the original 2010 design, but is still able to meet many of the needs of library patrons, according to Cromaine Director Ceci Marlow.
“One of the objectives was to get that quiet reading area for adults which I think this certainly does,” Marlow said during the meeting. “We get the separate youth program room, we get the separate teen area, I think we’ve got four out five objectives here.”The top five needs from data collected by dot surveys at Cromaine concerts, the Hartland Farmers' Market and at various meetings include:
- Separation of teen computing from children's space
- Casual/social space (noise allowed)
- Youth-only program room
- Quiet reading area for adults only
- Drive-up book return
While the “first attempt” by Whisler shows an addition of 18,100 square feet being added to the south side of the library’s property with 119 parking spots, many specifics to the plans would still need to be finalized, including elevations levels on the addition.
Preserving the original 1927 structure and view of the building is important, according to Marlow, and plans were discussed where the addition would be “sunken” into the ground, preventing as much obstruction of the view and original architecture as possible.
While inside the building, Marlow said she hopes to maintain as much of the “cozy” atmosphere of the current library that many people in the community enjoy and look for at Cromaine.
The Cromaine District Library would be potentially asking for a $12 million conventional bond for the addition.
“At 15 years, the average increase in taxes would be $92 per year or $1.77 per week,” Marlow said. “That’s a nice cup of coffee every other week, a ticket to the movies at MJR once a month and less than purchasing five DVD’s in a year or a paperback a month or six hardcovers in a year, but it is an added tax burden."
The financial information was supplied by Paul Stauder of Stauder and Barch and the number is based on the 2013 taxable value of residential property divided by the 2010 number of households in the Hartland Consolidated School District.
According to the report Marlow presented at the meeting however, that is not all of who would pay the added taxes to repay the bond, it only represents potential voters.
Alternative methods of financing were also discussed, such as an installment purchase agreement (IPA), however, while the library has the legal capacity to borrow $12 million, according to Marlow, "it does not mean we have the means to repay that amount," which is why a new operating millage would be necessary.
"There is a contingent in the community that truly wants to have a bigger, better library and they are willing to pay for it," she said. "There's obviously a contingent in the community that doesn't want to pay for anything additional."
After having gone through a similar situation in the past in Bloomfield, Marlow said that her experience showed that after the project was complete, people were "thrilled" with the results which gave them "what they needed and didn't know they needed."
With Livingston County being one of the top five communities in the country for strategic growth, Marlow said the community needs to "be prepared and needs to be able to offer what people who are going to move here are going to look for."
"Part of that is making sure that everyone knows that not just we're here, but we have bigger ideas that support the lifestyle they want to have," she said.
The next public meeting regarding plans for a possible Cromaine Library expansion will take place on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.