Basalt agrees to sell the land for a new library |

Basalt agrees to sell the land for a new library

John Colson
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

Basalt residents are a bit closer to having a new community library, if they want one.Basalt Town Council voted 3-1 Tuesday night to sell land next to the U.S. post office to the Basalt Regional Library District for $2.04 million.The new library – plans reportedly call for 20,000 square feet of interior space and two stories – would be built using proceeds from the sale of bonds. The library board plans to ask for approval from the district voters in November. The board is still working on the internal layout of the building and how much money to ask for.

The sale is contingent on that vote passing.Councilman Joe Zuena cast the only dissenting vote, and council members Tracy Bennett, Laurie Dows and Glenn Rappaport were not present at the meeting.Zuena, reached by e-mail on Wednesday, said he was not necessarily opposed to the library district’s plans.”Maybe I should have abstained instead of voting no to the land sale,” Zuena wrote. He said he voted against the sale because, “I felt I did not have enough information on the issue,” being a recent appointee to the council and not having worked on the issue before.

But, Zuena said, “I do believe the new proposed site is an excellent location, and the existing library building will be of best use for both government and community uses.”If voters approve the bond sale, the library district would turn over its current library building in Lions Park to the town.Town Manager Bill Efting said officials would deduct the value of the old library building, $700,000, from the appraised value of the land or the new library, meaning the library would pay the adjusted price of $1.34 million.Efting said the town has not decided what it might do with the old library building.

“I think we’re probably going to make it into a meeting room … maybe a couple of offices,” Mayor Leroy Duroux said. “But we’re not going to get really excited until after the library district gets its vote.”This is the second time in two years that the library district has tried to get voter approval for a new library.Two years ago, the district wanted to build a new, central library in the El Jebel area, but voters rejected the plan after a heated and occasionally nasty campaign.John Colson’s e-mail address is

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