Thursday, March 22, 2018

Time to talk library/multipurpose facility

Four years of research into exactly what county residents want in a new library/multipurpose facility is being presented at a series of public meetings next week.
The first meeting will take place in Columbus on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. The next meeting will occur the very next night, Wednesday, Feb. 28, in Park City at the Water District Office. Absarokee will be the final meeting location, taking place at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Street Commons on Thursday, March 1.
Gleaned from listening sessions in 2016 with more than 70 residents, the committee sifted through hundreds of comments to assemble those which were identified as the most important.
Some of those things include a banquet facility with a commercial kitchen, an interchangeable recreational court and performance theater, places to meet and gather and the county library.
One of the main purposes of the public meetings is to make sure those ideas are “on track to meet residents needs and interests,” said County Economic Development Coordinator Marissa Hauge, who serves as a liaison on the project.
The committee worked with NE45 and Humphries Poli Architects to create a visual sample of what such a building might look like. Hauge cautioned that the sketch is not a proposal or plan, but rather a simple tool of visualization to use as a jumping off point.
The financial element will also be a big factor in the project, prompting the committee to conclude that a combination of a library, community center and maybe a few county offices might make the most financial sense.
The county offices that could be relocated to such a building would be those that have a nexus to the educational and learning elements found in a library. In that scenario, it might be possible to share some expense with the county, as opposed to stretching resources at two buildings.
A potential site has been identified as the Granite Peak Park complex.
The 9-member Library County Center Steering Committee was convened a little more than four years ago at the direction of the Stillwater County Commission.
The commissioners’ goal was to have representation from around the county as well as from interests groups, such as the Granite Peak Park Steering Committee, 4-H, Library trustees and the original Library Planning Committee, said Hauge.
The mission of the group was to explore options and present ideas. Next week’s meetings will be the first public release of the first “draft for discussion” created by the committee.
And it is just that — a draft. The committee’s goal is to continue to get feedback and input from the community and make sure the ideas are on track with residents’ needs and interests, said Hauge.