New Carbondale library headed to Planning and Zoning review |

New Carbondale library headed to Planning and Zoning review

John Colson
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Kelley Cox Post Independent

An application to build a new, $5 million library in Carbondale will go before the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 16.

Part of the discussion, said Garfield County Library District Director Amelia Shelley, will be about taking down two old spruce trees adjacent to the library site.

“They are a controversy already,” Shelley said.

A stately row of tall conifers stands in a line between the old Carbondale Union School and the site of the new library.

That site currently is occupied by a defunct tennis court, which is where the library is to be built, and a parking lot.

Two of those trees are on library property, close to the sidewalk along Third Street.

Numerous Carbondale residents have objected to cutting down the trees.

But Shelley said the trees stand directly on top of a pipeline that functions as a community irrigation ditch.

The town wants that irrigation pipe replaced as a condition of approval for the building plans, she said, and there is some concern about whether the trees will survive the disturbance.

She noted that the trees would partially block the library’s view of Mount Sopris.

But other trees along Third Street also block the view, so the issue of the view is not limited to the two trees on library land.

She said the district is planning to plant 30 trees on the property, including on traffic-calming islands in the adjacent parking lot and on the west side of the building, to shield it from the afternoon sun.

Shelley said she can’t attend the Planning and Zoning meeting because the Glenwood Springs City Council will be discussing development plans for the new Glenwood Springs library.

“Since it’s the City Council, I really think I ought to attend that meeting,” she said. A library board member and perhaps other district officials will be on hand in Carbondale.

According to Shelley, design of the Carbondale library project is completed. The next step is to turn the newly completed design drawings into construction documents.

The plans are for a 13,000-square-foot facility with a north-south orientation, 20-foot ceilings and room for 35,000 volumes.

The current library has capacity for about 22,000 books, she said.

In response to requests at public meetings, Shelley added, “We’re talking about how to integrate some art into the building.”

Similarly, she said, the roof of the building is being designed to accommodate the installation of solar panels, at least partially due to local interest. But solar panels and inverters are not in the budget for the building at present.

“We’re very excited about the amount of community input we’ve had,” Shelley said. “It’s a very beautiful building.”

The Planning and Zoning meeting will be open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at Carbondale Town Hall.

The district has been on a building boom for the past few years, expanding and improving libraries in New Castle, Rifle and Parachute.

Up next are projects in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Silt.

The money for construction is coming from the sale of $22 million in “certificates of participation,” or COPS, in 2010 and 2011, library district officials have said.