I would like to suggest we consider all the options for the Hamline Public library.
Before that I would like to commend Jane McClure for a great article on the current options. I recall filling out an electronic survey, but don’t recall even seeing the Hancock site as an option. In the article it was mentioned that the “raze and build new” option was for a one story structure – why would anyone want a one story structure instead of a two – or three-story one? With land and location valuable and current structure is about three stories high, let’s rethink that one. It sounds like the owners for Hamline library are slumlords neglecting repairs for over three decades.
That neglect is not okay.
Here’s our two options as I see it:
1. Build new library 2 or 3 stories on Hancock site. If possible, put parking lot in the rear of building. Upgrade elevator at current library to make it more usable for another renter or buyer. Bring it up to code like homeowners do.
2. Remodel current building by excavating “basement” to make it more usable with an elevator and maybe even a ramp on the west alley side. This would retain the look and beauty of the building’s exterior and main floor with a lower cost. Consider moving A/C and outbuilding north to allow for one more parking spot.
Other options don’t seem to make sense for our neighborhood. Razing means loss of library for over a year. One story means almost no square footage gain for a lot of money = poor investment of tax dollars with little gain. Libraries are a key fixture to a great democracy in my opinion. Let’s rethink this.