Council mulls idea of library renovation


Shannan Lojeski

photo by Shannan Lojeski

Killian Jauch, News Editor

The Whitewater City Common Council met Sept. 4 to discuss possible renovations to the city library and surrounding land. Stacey Lunsford spoke on behalf of the library, asking the city to approve a Request for Proposal (RFP).

A RFP would essentially mean that the library would be able to continue looking into specifics about the renovation—along with uses for the land near the library—and possibly explore cost parameters. The RFP was officially named the Mixed-use Development for the Whitewater Library Project Area.

“Our team at the library has been working on this for the past few months,” Lunsford said. “We aren’t entirely sure what we’re going to get, but we’re hopeful.”

The council discussed the topic for quite some time, with many issues coming up throughout the discussion. Councilmember At-Large James Allen took issue with the amount of control the library wanted to have over the project as a whole.

“As a builder, I would want the option to look at the land and be able to decide what would be the best use for the community,” Allen said.

While some council members felt that at the current moment it was unnecessary to issue an RFP at the current state of the project, Alderwoman Stephanie Vander Pas felt differently.

“If there’s a builder who’s willing to submit that proposal I don’t know why we wouldn’t want to read it,” Vander Pas said. “Would it hurt anything?”

Alderman Lynn Binnie also had an issue with the expenses of the project.

“I think the reality is, though, you don’t have the funding for a 10 thousand square foot addition” Binnie said.

The funding was a major topic of conversation during the meeting, with the council holding some skepticism about the library’s ability to come up with that amount of money.

“I’m missing something here. If a developer were to come back with some number like five or seven million dollars, what are we going to do with that?” Binnie said.” I don’t see the reason to ask for a proposal to tell us how much it would cost when we know we cannot fund it.”

Through all the discussion, Lunsford remained optimistic that the RFP would help the project as a whole.

“I’ve done my homework,” Lunsford said. “I’m very confident that what I am telling you is correct.”

No final decision was made. The topic of an RFP for the Library Project Area was tabled to a future meeting.