May 14, 2009

Library buys 35 acres for ... ?

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...


  1. That is a terrible idea for the City of Racine. Don't thney want to bring people the downtown area? If they open a 2nd Library they will lose half of the people that come downtown. If I had a business downtown I would OBJECT to this move.

  2. I think we need a FARA, a Fine Arts Regional Authority.
    Or a FART, a Fine Arts Regional Tax.
    Everything from the library to the Marcus Theater should be funded by this mechanism.

  3. We have a tiny but beautiful library in Waterford and it has a nice bank of computers, very nice reading and studying areas. Plus, we can order any book we want through the book system. So, why would people need a huge library there?
    Really, in regards to research just about everyone is online. A huge host of major magazines are free online. If it's primarily the books you don't need a huge facility.
    I'm personally very disappointed that there is this much money targeted for a library when there seems to be so many other, more urgent, needs to be met.

  4. Too Good For The Common Folk5/14/2009 7:17 PM

    Bottom line is that the Library Downtown will be for White Trash, Blacks, Mexicans, Homeless people, and Perverts; while the Uppity "New" Library will be for the "rich" folks who are afraid to be around those previously listed.

    Let's be honest here.

    Truly pathetic, certain people afraid to be around other people who they feel are not as good as them.

    What's the name of this Library going to be called? County of Racine Library?

    By the way, I'm white and I guess you could say well off.

  5. Truth is it makes sense to build a library closer to the center of population. I think the current library and grounds should be sold to the highest bidder. It's a PERFECT location for a fine restaurant with Lakefront views, perhaps a Medium sized luxury hotel and Spa..and topped off with a few dozen luxury Lakefront Condo's.

    Those are the kind of residents, and guests which continue to grow Racine's image a great place to go for a weekend getaway from Chicago. Our great restaurants cool shops..more to come...and great clubs for cocktails and live entertainment. Furthermore the Condo owners are unlikely to have Kids of school age, thus adding no burden to our schools, and at the same time reducing the School tax burden on the rest of us. the price we could sell the Library for should be more than enough to build a reasonable facility with a focus on less Books, and more Computer focused modern Library. In 10 years the Kindle or something like it will make Library's virtually obsolete..we need to keep that in mind. In fact I think a Library membership might entitle the user to a Kindle type device..and the information will be distributed "Virtually" 24/7 and the building will be obsolete. Kay's Waterford library could handle all of the traffic for the entire County in less than 10 years. Let's not waste a lot of money on this new Library..Think 21st Century folks! Thanks Andrew Carnegie...but were moving forward now.

  6. Yeah, lets sell everything to the highest bidder. Well, there goes the KRM. How will we get to the library if it is moved? No need for a train going through down town and being able to walk to everything.

  7. Downtower please stay off Crack. "and guests which continue to grow Racine's image a great place to go for a weekend getaway from Chicago."
    I have heard that pathetic idea for years and it is simply not true. Why in God green earth would someone anyone drive to Gang City Racine when they can find everything we might have in Chicago?

    Key a library serves so many needs for a city IMHO Racine could use another one Kenosha has many and it is a growing city. Racine not so much so.
    2:52 Using a small library to draw (force)folks downtown does not work well. We can simply drive to the Kenosha North side branch. Bounis we do not have to put up with the bums on the street or the ones that run DRC!

  8. Racine already has a F.A.R.T. - it is built into the current Racine Wastewater billing. It was crafted (shafted) into the Sewer Agreement that advanced wasterwater services to Mt. Pleasant & Caledonia a number of years ago by Mayor Jim Smith.

  9. I lived in Chicago, Racine is a joke to Chicagoans. Wisconsin is Chicago's backyard, but if they want a jaunt over the border, they head to Lake Geneva (Lake Michigan abuts Chicago, too); otherwise, they head "up north" where the Go Back to Illinois bumper stickers are an endless source of amusement.

    Don't tell anyone, but the UW system (including Parkside) has wonderful libraries available to state residents for $10 a year.

    The demise of libraries has been predicted by "experts" for decades, but they still keep growing. Those are the same experts who foretold paperless offices and flying cars.

  10. Will the low income residents of downtown have access to public transportation to this new library? Many of them do own cars, you know. Doesn't this negate the notion of getting away from the "undesireables?" Either way, a public library is for everyone, so if some folks don't like it, they should stick to their expensive electronic gadgets or the bookstore! What a waste of money!

  11. concrete katie5/15/2009 9:31 AM

    Libraries will always be a haven as long as there are humans with inquiring minds and eyes. I spend most of my time now in Michigan completely isolated from tech and communication networks. I became a member of the local library in this town of 500 and I can go and use the computer during hours and conduct business. Knowledge is available for all at a library. Smart communities in outlying rural areas have up-to-date libraries. Where I am, there is no grocery store, no bank, no eats, one drink and one superb library. Racine's downtown library has a huge bonus - its view of the lake. The lake and the books-music-DVDs are food and essential to the human spirit.

  12. 1.2 Million from their "trust fund?" Holy $hit! And the city continues to provide the library with how much a year?!!?? This is absurd and a complete waste of money....Screw the library's, buy a computer!

  13. $34,000/acre ?? good price ?? what did waste water pay for it ? will my water bill go down ?? what realestate agent gets commision ?

  14. 0:34

    The name Dickert would not surprise me

  15. You know when the economy is rough is not the time to go out and make large purchases and start building. They may have money to spend but how long will the library have that money? Will people still continue to give as freely? I really enjoy the library downtown. I bring visitors to use it. We make an afternoon of lunch and a walk through downtown. I don't live in an expensive overpriced condo. I do live in the city.

  16. Thank you for the article. We look forward to a nearby library branch, and will happily continue to visit downtown and patronize its businesses as well! :)

  17. I have been to libraries all over the SE WIS area as well as throughout the Midwest and I can tell you the Racine Library building is pathetic by comparison. What dufuss would design a library with out a decent meeting room?

  18. Do we decimal system that number to bring it into line? This spending could put the library into its tome. The spine of these people speaks volumes about how they are forever bound to their ways! Throw the book at 'em Dano.

  19. In my opinion, this is an arrogant decision. They want their perfect library in the suburbs. This money could have gone to re-vitalize a site like the old Cinema on Washington Ave.

  20. Urban Pioneer5/23/2009 12:25 AM

    Thank You Brian!! I have made the argument for 2-3 years the cinema would be perfect for the New Library. It's central to the population, Convenient to all of the buses, it's more usable to the Mt Pleasant, Yorkville and county folk as well, and there is plenty of free parking. Post office is next door, and 4 Grocery stores are within 2 miles! Drop Johhny off to study, go get the Groceries, change the oil...whatever, pick up Johnny go home!!
    Don't get me wrong, I want Downtown to thrive, and yes a few people may use the Library and visit a business Downtown, but it's not the make or break for the city. A nice Condo or Hotel/ Restaurant would be a much better use of our Lakefront.
    And Colt, I meet people from Chicago and the burbs every few days, some have moved here and love it, others have been astonished to find such a cool city so close to theirs. The "Day trip" destination is more common than you may think. After all many of us go to Chicago for the day and don't stay overnight...the road goes both ways!

  21. Urban Pioneer5/23/2009 12:35 AM

    Hey Anon 8:46?
    Did you think the KRM was gonna go anywhere close enough to the Downtown Library, that you could walk?? Maybe in June, but January? Not likely.

    So you would get off the KRM train, (that you decided to ride from Milwaukee?? or Cudahy to use the Racine Library??) Come on, the KRM isn't gonna get you to the Library and it doesn't connect to the METRA in Kenosha either.

  22. - people will not give money to the library anymore

    - people will be upset about the library getting taxpayer money if they are willing to piss away 1.2 million on a terrible project.

    - fewer people will visit downtown

    - not nearly enough people will use the new library

    - racine is a prime example of AWFUL land use management, you will have to drive a long way to go anywhere anyways...why build another library, it won't save people that many miles

    We already have a very nice library on the lake.