New county library nearing reality in Carbondale |

New county library nearing reality in Carbondale

CARBONDALE, Colo. – An agreement signed with the Carbondale Board of Trustees Tuesday night moves the Garfield County Public Library District a step closer to building a new $5 million, 13,000 square-foot branch library in Carbondale.

The library district is also expected to close on the $675,000 purchase of its new library site from the Roaring Fork School District by next week. The deal will secure the southwest corner of the school district’s property at Sopris Avenue and Third Street in Carbondale for the facility.

“If all goes as planned, we expect to issue a (request for proposals) for architects around July 1, and we hope to break ground next spring,” said Amelia Shelley, executive director for the library district.

An intergovernmental agreement with Carbondale calls for the town to contribute up to $500,000 in street improvements, sidewalks and on-street parking adjacent to the new library. The town will also assist with paving the parking lot, which the library will share with the school district’s adjacent Bridges Center.

In addition to the library building, the larger 25,000 square-foot site will also have landscaping and outdoor spaces for use by library patrons, Shelley said.

The project is part of a multi-year effort by the library district to renovate existing facilities in Parachute, Silt and New Castle, and build new libraries in Rifle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.

County voters in 2006 approved the formation of the library district, formally removing the six-branch library system from under Garfield County government and extending the 0.25 percent county sales tax to fund library operations. Voters at that time also approved a 1 mill property levy to build new facilities.

A new library and district administration building in Rifle has already been completed, as have renovations in Parachute, while construction projects are under way or about to begin in New Castle and Silt.

Last fall, the library district issued $9.5 million in certificates of participation to build two brand new facilities, one in Carbondale and one in Glenwood Springs.

While the new Carbondale site has been determined, the library district is currently working with architects in conjunction with the city of Glenwood Springs and Colorado Mountain College for a shared library, parking structure and new CMC facilities at the corner of Eighth and Cooper in downtown Glenwood. Plans for a library at that site are still preliminary, Shelley said.

The new Carbondale library will replace the existing 3,800 square-foot Gordon Cooper Branch Library on Fourth Street. The library has leased that site from the town since 1983, although the library district owns the building itself.

Once the new library is built, the district will deed the existing building to the town for an undetermined future use.

Already, one existing Carbondale entity has expressed interest in moving into the building, if the town is so willing.

“We at the Carbondale Community Food Coop would like to inform you of our interest as a potential tenant of the town library building …,” the food coop board wrote in a recent letter to the Carbondale town board. “There are many possibilities for this building once the library district relocates to its new facility, and we strongly believe that one of those is as a center for the sale and distribution of locally produced foods.”

A decision on what to do with the building once the town takes ownership is still likely several months away.

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