November 11, 2013

Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers says he's working the library-development process with the aim of bringing a referendum before voters in August.

There are still major questions to be answered in the next 10 months: Will the plan call for a new library or improvement of the current one? How much will it cost? How big will it be? And where will the new library go if the council opts to move it from the Farner Government Building?

Himmel & Wilson Library Consultants of Milton, Wis., will be paid $26,000 for a space-needs assessment of the Carroll Public Library. The report is expected in late January.

"Then we should be able to look at where it should go," Schweers said Saturday during a council/city staff strategic-planning session in the Carroll Fire Department's training room.

The Carroll Library Foundation, a private, non-profit, has provided $4,000 in funding, with another $3,000 coming through the State Library of Iowa. The city will pay for $19,000 of the work.

Himmel & Wilson, in existence since 1987, has been involved with more than 350 library developments in 43 states, said Bill Wilson, a partner in the firm.

Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann didn't want to get locked into a time frame on the library.

"I think it will depend on what the plan is," Siemann said, noting there could be property acquisition and other factors associated with any development.

Added Councilman Dr. Eric Jensen, "We have to understand the plan first."

Siemann advocated finishing the current punch list of city priorities - not adding any new ones.

"We have a full plate," Siemann said.

The council listed the following ongoing commitments: street improvements; Corridor of Commerce work and study of the remainder of the commercial streetscape plan; water-supply expansion; development of a revised plan for the library; financial analysis; development of a plan for long-term viability of the Carroll Recreation Center; continuation of plans for U.S. Highway 30/Grant Road intersection work; planning for a walking trail on the northeast side of the city; maintenance facility improvements; and a train-horn-noise mitigation study.

The council and mayor did add three new priorities for the next two years - study new water sources; schedule a referendum on the aquatic-center lazy river (estimated at $1.1 million); and setting the library referendum.

Council members said a plan to transform the old tennis courts at Graham Park didn't need to be listed in the report because the cost likely would be around $100,000 and not require a referendum.

"I don't see that as a gigantic project," Jensen said.

The council also discussed needs for improvements at Merchants Park baseball stadium.

City Manager Gerald Clausen said both the basketball court and Merchants improvements likely cannot be done in the same two-year capital-improvement plan.