Bethany voters Tuesday night overwhelmingly passed an $8,180,000 bond issue to build a new library. Those who support it say they're hoping it will open a whole new chapter for the city.
The Bethany library is one of the busiest in the Metropolitan Library System. It is also one of the smallest. The building is 50 years old. It fails to meet building codes. There's little space for new technology and even its original purpose.
“We need more room for books. People say ‘People don’t use books anymore.’ Well, yeah, they do,” said Kathy Larsen, who chaired the committee to study the need for a new library. She’s also the Ward 3 city councilperson for Bethany.
Tuesday night 72 percent of voters said they agree and approved a bond to build a new 23,000 square foot library.
“I think we got a real loud voice from the people willing to move forward with this,” said Larsen.
The hope is the new library would not only better serve current users, but attract new ones, like Starla Stewart. She lives nearby but never visited the library until today. But she says the new library would almost certainly be a destination.
“If like I said, if they had more children’s stuff for my daughter,” said Stewart.
The new library would have a children's area, meetings rooms, and patios that would overlook a pond and playground.
And Larsen says it would most certainly bring people to Bethany.
“What we’ve done here last night with the vote and the work that’s been done over the last year I really think is a more forward for our city, we’re not asleep anymore and we’ve gotten that B12 and we’re going to keep getting that B12.”
Larsen says hopefully a design concept done by end of April or May. Construction could begin in the summer of 2017. And while the new library is being built all of the books are going to have to be moved somewhere.