The Racine Public Library Board of Trustees has announced the purchase of approximately 35 acres of land north of Spring Street and Newman Road, from the Racine Water and Wastewater Utility, to be used for the future construction of a second library. The $1,199,056.99 price was paid for with library trust funds.
The board said it will now begin the process of "creating a funding structure to provide library service to the residents of Caledonia, Elmwood Park, Mount Pleasant, North Bay, Racine, Sturtevant, and Wind Point, all current users of the Racine Public Library’s downtown facility and mobile library."
Library officials have long wanted a library closer to where the population is moving. Library director Jessica MacPhail said the library serves a population of 139,000 in a geographic area similar to the Racine Unified School District, extending to the Interstate from Kenosha County to Milwaukee County. "Residents who live closer to Highway 31 have requested a second, more convenient location for years, like Kenosha’s four branch libraries. This has been a top priority of the Library Board for the past two Strategic Plans. The center of population for the library’s service area has been moving westward for years."
In February, when the city released its stimulus wish list -- sort of a what-are-they-smoking? list -- half of the $73.9 million sought was directed toward a new library. "Our chances are slim," said Mayor Tom Friedel, who is a member of the Library Board of Trustees. The $36 million requested could build a 120,000 sq. ft. library -- twice the size of the existing one.
For now, we have the land...