Time is now for El Jebel library | AspenTimes.com

Time is now for El Jebel library

Pitkin County and Eagle County commissioners agree that the Basalt Regional Library District Board has done their homework! Interest rates are low, and the time is now to build a large, new library in El Jebel.

The Crawford family has offered to lease three-plus acres for $800 a month. With the passage of 4B and 4C, $150,000 will be put in escrow, and the interest will pay for the cost of the loan. The offer of a 35-year lease includes the option to renew for an additional 20 years at the same rent plus cost-of-living adjustment. If the lease is not renewed, they may purchase the improvements to the property at fair-market value.

The Basalt Regional Library is just that. It is a regional library district and covers hundreds of square miles, from Watson Divide on the eastern edge to the Garfield County line on the western edge. Included are Meredith, Thomasville, Emma, El Jebel, Blue Lake, portions of Missouri Heights and the Snowmass and Capitol Creek drainages.

The library board has made an effort to plan for the next 20 years, when the population is projected to be 20,000 district residents. This is the most cost-effective solution available at the time. Using the architect’s estimate of $300 per square foot, a single 20,000-square-foot building would cost $6 million, while a 16,000-square-foot building at $4.8 million plus a 4,000-square-foot facility, remodeled and expanded for $600,000, would total $5.4 million.

Due to the TABOR restrictions, the library’s mill levy has decreased from 1.38 in 1995 to 0.92 in 2003. A no vote will mean reduced library services, a reduction in staff and closure of the library two days a week. There will be no expansion of the existing building, no new furnishings and no additional computers.

A yes vote will bring funding up to near average with other libraries on the Western Slope. By voting yes on 4B and 4C, a new library can be open and operational as soon as summer 2005. A yes vote will serve the greater community now and far into the future. Think globally, vote locally.

Polly Pollard

Board member

Basalt Regional Library District

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