|The 2011 library in Vantucky|
Miller Hull Architects
The district went to Vancouver voters three times to pass a bond measure to build the new library and replace another, the 24,175-square-foot Cascade Park Community Library that reopened in 2009. The first two fell short of the 60 percent needed – by just half a percent in 2006.Folks are getting all worked up over the idea that the current Library might be repurposed for a new Police Station. "Hands off," they say.
But before a third vote in 2006, the Vancouver-based Killian Pacific development company donated a downtown site for the new building and an anonymous donor put up $5 million for the project. A $43 million bond measure to build the new libraries passed with 63 percent of the vote.
But again, the current library is a charmless concrete bunker. Why not consider an opportunity to upgrade? If Vancouver can do it, surely Salem can, right?
So here are some thoughts....
|Markion Parkade, City of Salem|
Beyond that, though, the ground floor of the Marion Parkade has a few things in its favor as a possible location for a new library:
- A Union Street family-friendly bikeway would offer great access, and in fact kids from Grant, Highland, and Englewood might actually be able to walk and bike to it on their own, and access from West Salem would be better. With a Church Street bikeway, access from close-in south might not be harmed much. The current library is located in the center median of what is effectively a vast highway, the Commercial/Liberty couplet. If the City coordinated the right traffic calming measures, Union Street could be transformed.
- With the Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry on the kitty-corner, maybe this could become an educational hub in Salem.
- Since the Library is already in a charmless concrete bunker, is the prospect of a move to a different charmless concrete bunker really so much worse? And good design can do amazing things! Maybe it would not be a charmless concrete bunker afterwards.
While it might not be a Great Irony, it is at least a little ironic that we are giving more attention to the interiors for children and teens than we give to the question whether children and teens can even reach the Library on their own. The car-dependency of the site is assumed as a given - but should not be.
|That Belluschi Bank? What if it were a Library!|
Imagine how much more active the sidewalks and businesses on Liberty here would be with all the foot-traffic generated by a library!
It would also provide reason to upgrade Chemeketa to a full family-friendly bikeway. And this site is better served by transit than a location in any other part of the city.
Anyway, there are lots of possibilities with the Police/Library question, and the annoyance of a delay in the Children's room remodel should not distract us from the bigger potentials and brainstorming. I read the City's delay on the remodel as reasonable rather than as part of a nefarious scheme to force a particular configuration on the Police Station. Moreover, if the project totally tanked, the $300K worth of improvements would be easy to tuck into the new bond for the Library/Police project.