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Trustees recommend keeping St. Helena Public Library where it is

Trustees recommend keeping St. Helena Public Library where it is

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The St. Helena Public Library Board of Trustees wants the library to stay where it is, as the City Council grapples with where to put new city facilities.

Out of four master plans analyzed by a consultant, trustees agreed Friday to endorse the only one that calls for renovating and preserving the library in its current location.

“We believe that the present location of the library appeals to most St. Helenans and that there is no compelling need or reason to place it elsewhere,” trustees wrote in a letter to the council.

So-called “Option 2” calls for renovating and expanding the library and building a new City Hall and multi-purpose room/council chambers along Library Lane.

The other three options under consideration involve building a new library on either Library Lane or the current City Hall site. Two of the options would move City Hall operations into the existing library building.

The option preferred by library trustees calls for substantial renovations to the library, including an enlarged children’s section, expanded teen space, and a larger meeting room.

Trustees also suggest more private spaces for individual study, greater use of windows to maintain the library’s viewshed, additional parking, and environmentally friendly features like solar power and thermal windows.

Renovated in its current location, the library “would serve as an anchor for a nexus that would include city hall, the RLS Museum, possibly the police department and a secure council chamber as one coherent community space,” the letter states.

“The structures could be separate or contiguous, as long as the library remains accessible as it is now,” trustees wrote.

Trustees approved the wording of the letter at a special meeting on Friday. In December Vice Mayor Paul Dohring encouraged the board to make a formal written recommendation to the council.

The board is composed of Lin Weber, Terry Wood, Susan Swan, Emily Armstead, Skip Lane, David Slaby and Rebecca Wendt.

The recommendation comes as the council considers whether to permanently abandon the aging and dilapidated City Hall building, which has been vacant ever since a malfunctioning heater filled the building with smoke on Dec. 18.

The council is scheduled Jan. 14 to appoint a task force that will evaluate the Noll & Tam study in greater detail and make recommendations to the council.

The council is also set to discuss the Noll & Tam study at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Vintage Hall.

You can reach Jesse Duarte at 967-6803 or jduarte@sthelenastar.com.

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