We are entering a critical period when the Lyons Library District Board in cooperation with the Lyons Town Board will determine what type of Library/Community Center will be built. At one of the Library District’s building committee meetings the “Owner’s Representative” talked about a 6,000
square foot building with 1,200 square feet for administration, the majority of the space being dedicated to book storage and meeting rooms and only 500 square feet to 1000 square feet for “performance space”. 500 square feet is about the size of a living room in a Stone Canyon house. A thousand square feet is way smaller than Roger’s Hall. When I fly, I see more than half of the people on the flight read their books on electronic readers. I’m a late adopter, but I finally stopped renting DVDs and gotten on-line movie access. The last DVD rental store in Boulder closed earlier this year. The point I want to make is, just like video stores, there is a better alternative to spending $ millions for a building principally built to store books. And, how much do we need more meeting rooms? During the flood recovery planning stage, we had a once in a lifetime demand for meeting space as about 15 committees were meeting at least twice a month. The only time the facilities in Lyons were inadequate to meet that high demand period was during the formational planning meeting when hundreds of us gathered together at the Life Bridge Church auditorium. What that high demand period showed us was, we have adequate meeting spaces.
The lower level of the Walt Self Senior Center is seldom used and could be remodeled into an appealing space, suitable for meetings and other purposes.
The former Lyons Depot Library can also now be used for meetings, Oskar Blues event room, the firehouse, Roger’s Hall, the Wesley Hall, Shirley Johnson Chamber, the Ax and Oar can all be used and have been used for meetings. The need for more meeting spaces is greatly overstated. But, we need an auditorium!
In the Lyons Recovery Action Plan (LRAP) on page 110, under the heading “Public Facilities Objective: Determine feasibility of building a new community facility”, it is written; “Support the creation of a multipurpose magnet library and community center that will keep locals in town to reduce opportunities to shop elsewhere”. If we are spending $millions shouldn’t the facility have more financial benefit for the Town than “to keep locals in town to reduce opportunities to shop elsewhere”? On page 110, the library priority is desirable. On the same page, with the same priority, a second public facilities objective is listed, “Determine whether a multi-use community center is a viable option for the Town, with possible components to include a new Town hall, performance center, library, recreation center, art space and other features desired by the public.” This public facilities objective was also determined by the people of Lyons to be desirable. (Note: It can be pointed out that on page 88 the priority rating of the library was changed to “vital.” That change was made by a library lobbyist, registered as a lobbyist with the State of Colorado, in a manner inconsistent with the “Guiding Principles” of open process described on page 13 of the LRAP.)
In the first 18 months of collection, the approved Lyons Library District has taxed this community $500,000 more than was needed to run the library with its expanded services. If every three years the Lyons Library District is going to collect $1,000,000 more than it needs to pay rent and operate a library, then the building that Lyons people are paying for should have more than just book storage, administrative space and meeting rooms. The building should have an auditorium capable of seating up to 200 people. An auditorium within the new building will help us achieve multiple objectives of the Lyons Action Plan. These include, “Create opportunities for arts and artists to thrive” (LRAP page 25). An auditorium would be suitable for plays, lectures, music and dance performances. An auditorium would move another goal towards fulfillment as it would help (LRAP page 29) “Create an environment in which local businesses can prosper and expand.” Bringing people into Lyons for educational lectures and shows would be consistent with a second goal in the Economic and Business section of LRAP, “leverage the Town’s unique retailers and relationship with music (and) arts.”
An auditorium needs a tall ceiling, it needs inclined seating with good sight lines, a large stage, special lights, audio equipment, good acoustics and back stage areas. If you feel like you should get more for your money than just a very limited mission library building, let the Lyons Library District members know. Look for the meeting that might be held April 20 to meet the architect. Let your Town of Lyons Board of Trustees members know we didn’t prepare the Lyons Recovery Plan so it could be ignored. Let’s get more than just a library, let’s get a community center that contains both a library and an auditorium.
Peter Baumgartner, former Town of Lyons Trustee