Building Process Update: July 2018

Here’s a quick update of where we are with the mixed-use library proposal project. I'd also like to take a moment to address the topic on everyone’s minds…parking!

Last week the architects returned to work on the mixed-use library proposal. They worked with a group of city staff, library trustees and neighborhood partners.

We viewed a draft report from their first visit on June 6 and 7. This report will be available to the public when it is complete. It reflects the activities and input of over 150 community members.

We also walked through potential library spaces that could be part of a new facility. We discussed how they are being used in libraries and how they may (or may not) work for Appleton. OPN reviewed the community priorities shared with them and presented options for discussion.

Some of those options included spaces that we had never considered. Study rooms for families and new ways to arrange materials were some of the new ideas. OPN also presented ideas for maximizing public space, while providing efficient staff space. Each space included or excluded will have an impact on the size of the facility.

We have been working on building processes for the past decade. It was exciting to hear new ideas and fresh perspectives. The group did not make any decisions. However, there was a robust discussion about what is important and how decisions need to fit the community's needs.

In July we will be sharing information about opportunities for more public participation. Those opportunities will include focus groups and a public presentation.

Moving on to the perennial parking question. Understandably, parking is one of the biggest concerns we are hearing. A high traffic place needs to be accessible for everyone. It's essential to identify a good parking solution for the library for the project to be successful.

The 2015 downtown parking study showed Soldiers Square Ramp was near the end of its life. It also showed the need to develop a solution to replace the ramp. At the time there wasn't an understanding of what would develop in the area. Now that there is a better understanding, the city can move forward with identifying a solution that works for the whole area. The Department of Public Works is working with Walker Parking Consultants on the study and more information will come as it progresses.

Thank you for continuing to remain invested in the mixed-use library proposal. If you have questions, please see our planning page for more information.

Colleen Rortvedt, Appleton Public Library Director