Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 29, 2010

Library building back on the table

Plans could bring new structure downtown.

Kokomo — Kokomo library officials are considering four possible locations for a new bookmobile garage, including two vacant elementary schools and a downtown parking lot.

Library board president Susan Luttrell confirmed plans to build a new Outreach Building — either as a standalone or as an extension of the South Branch Library — are back on again.

Luttrell said the payment of back property taxes by Chrysler Group LLC and Delphi Corp. has revived a project that earlier this year appeared to be on hold.

The $3.7 million renovation of the Kokomo Main Library is on schedule, Luttrell said, with an Oct. 1 planned re-opening date.

Library officials had also planned, when the decision was made to renovate the Main Library last year, to build a separate structure next to the South Branch.

The Outreach Building, as board members refer to the planned structure, was to become the new home for the library’s two bookmobiles, as well as the library’s collection management department, where new materials are catalogued.

But the estimated $1.2 million cost of the structure, along with objections over aesthetics from residents of the Water’s Edge subdivision, were factors in the decision to put the project on hold.

Previous concerns Chrysler wouldn’t pay its back property taxes also left library board members with the task of closing a projected $500,000 deficit last year, and a series of cost-cutting and revenue-raising measures went into effect Aug. 3.

Changes for the public included a new 50-cent fee to check out audiovisual materials (including CDs, DVDs and videos), and shorter library hours during the week.

Cuts to library staff pay and cuts to the library’s materials budget were also put in place.

Library officials also realized if they went ahead with the Outreach Building, they would spend down the library’s cash reserves to zero.

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