Voters Approve Referendum to Modernize Library: State-of-The Art Expansion Approved November 6th,

Broadview, IL November 7, 2012 – On November 6th, 2012 voters in the Broadview Public Library District approved a referendum to modernize and expand the library.

On Tuesday November 6, 2012 residents of Broadview approved a referendum to modernize and expand their library. In the morning on November 7th the vote for the referendum stood at 80% Yes and 19% No.  Library Executive Director Melissa Gardner said “We are overwhelmed by the positive support for the referendum and would like to thank all of the residents for sharing our vision.”

The Library Board, Staff and Citizen Input Committee members gathered Tuesday night to watch the results together and as the first precincts came in, to celebrate together.  With an 80% victory it is clear that the residents are ready for a new library.  Library Board President Michael Wideman spoke to the group at the end of the night:  “I just want to thank everybody.  This referendum was not about economics but about leaving a legacy in our community.”  He was speaking not only to the crowd but to his daughter who had just voted in her first election.

In the Library Board’s effort to bring a modern library facility to the residents of Broadview, they have worked with Dewberry Architects to put together a plan for re-modeling and expansion of the current library, incorporating most of which residents have asked. After months of research and input from citizens, the Library Board submitted an application to the Illinois State Library in April for a $1.5 million grant to repair, remodel and expand the current library. In July, the Library learned that, while it met all the requirements for the grant, the state did not have enough funding this year to fund all of the project proposals submitted.

Melissa Gardner the Library’s Executive Director said, “In the current facility we are limited and many of the facility’s systems are failing.  It is very difficult for us to add things like computers.  We want to expand our programs and services but we are not able to so.”

In order to move forward with plans to bring a modern library facility to Broadview, the Library Board will be using $2.5 million from reserves. Grant funds will continue to be pursued, and tax payers approved a referendum to issue bonds of $4.1 million. For the average resident with a home valued at $150,000, this means an increase in taxes of less than $5 a month or $60 a year.

The proposed library facility will offer 21,300 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art library space. It will include: 1) a building that is in proper repair and ADA accessible; (2) state-of-the-art technology, such as smart boards, self-checkout and an updated computer lab; (3) a dedicated teen space and media creation lab; (4) free 24 hour AV access similar to “Redbox”; (5) study and meeting rooms for a multitude of uses. Katrina Arnold, Chair of the Library Facilities Committee says “The goal of the board is for residents of Broadview to walk out their back door to their own state-of-the-art Library and not have to travel to other communities for library service.” Cheryl Miller Head of Circulation at the Library and long-time resident of Broadview was near tears when she heard the news, Miller said “the Library will be a center of pride for all of us.”

Work on the plans for the building will begin right away and if everything goes smoothly residents should see construction begin sometime this summer.  The Executive Director Melissa Gardner explained that “we hope to start the project as soon as possible to take advantage of lower interest rates and lower construction costs.”  While the economy continues to improve, the financial data available to the Library shows that building at this time would allow the Library to find cost savings with lower interest rates and construction costs not available several years ago.  Steve Larson, Senior Financial Advisor at Ehlers, the District’s public financial advisor, stated “Interest rates have been at historic-record lows. The Broadview Public Library District can benefit from current trends in the market.”

For more information about the referendum and modern library facility contact the Library Executive Director Melissa Gardner at (708) 345-1325 x 20.

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