Dear Lyons Community,
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about whether or not to support a new library facility for Lyons, but I was disappointed to recently read unfair and inaccurate criticism leveled at the Library Steering Committee.
Creating a 21st century multi-media library in Lyons has long been a community goal. In 2008, the Economic Development Council prioritized a better library as one of its key economic development strategies based on empirical evidence of the links between a good library and downtown economic
vitality, increased property values, and other positive economic impacts. This recommendation was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees at the time.
The 2010 Comprehensive Plan came to the same conclusion. The Comprehensive Plan found that the Lyons Depot Library is too small for Lyons needs and set out as a key community objective to “promote and enhance the use of a Lyons library facility as a community resource and a strategic hot spot to support local businesses, students, scholars and other residents (Culture, History and Education Strategy 1.1.1).”
In an effort to implement the Comprehensive Plan, the current Board of Trustees identified moving forward with an improved library as one of its main priorities for our term in office. A Library Steering Committee was created to focus on the task of assessing community desires and carrying out the technical and legal groundwork for an eventual district and facility. The committee has provided routine feedback to the Board of Trustees on progress made.
They have done an outstanding job. This group has undertaken an extensive effort to get community input. They fielded surveys, met with different potential user groups, and oversaw the work of a library architect to translate these community priorities into sizing the potential components of a library building as well as evaluating potential building sites. Community open houses have been held to present and discuss these findings. All of this information is openly available on the website www.theheartoflyons.org. They have gathered over 300 signatures in support of creating a Library District. In addition, they have launched a private capital campaign to seek donations in order the lower the cost to the taxpayer (and have over $250,000 in pledges thus far).
Not all details are worked out yet and they are still getting public input, including whether it will be possible to incorporate some type of performance space into the library project (even though this was a relatively low priority in the community survey, several people in the community are really excited about this possibility). To address this, the architect was asked to develop cost estimates for meeting rooms that would be combinable into a small performance space, as well as a separate, larger performance hall option (which may or may not be feasible within the library proposal).
The Steering Committee has diligently worked towards a library proposal that reflects community priorities and would provide Lyons with a facility that adds value to the community, creating an economic driver for our businesses, an educational resource for our kids, increasing access to information for everyone as well as a community focal point for meetings, exhibits, lectures etc. The Library Steering Committee is comprised of volunteers that have been working long hours to the benefit of our community. They have operated with the utmost integrity and transparency. We all owe them our thanks.
If a Library District is legally created in the next few weeks – it requires Boulder and Larimer County approval – there will be a legal entity empowered to make decisions, including on the ultimate scope and budget for the project. They will have all of the Steering Committee’s good work to help guide them in that process.
Mayor Julie Van Domelen