Library board to seek council approval of site

The Fort Frances Public Library board has chosen the lot behind the Memorial Sports Centre as its preferred location for a new library, and will be asking town council to approve the site—at least in principle—at its meeting this coming Monday (June 27).
The library board held a public meeting at the Memorial Sports Centre last night to inform people why it has chosen that site—and why it is preferable to build a new library rather than renovate the old one on Church Street.
“The one most important aspect is the accessibility,” noted board chair Joyce Cunningham.
The existing library does not meet provincial standards for handicapped accessibility. And the cost of renovating it to meet those standards would be considerably more than it would to build a new one.
According to rough estimates put together by Community Services manager George Bell, the total cost of renovating the old library would be about $4,036,622.
“That is the cost to renovate the library to still be an inefficient library,” noted board member Arlene Georgeson.
Meanwhile, the cost to build a new one at the corner of Reid Avenue and Second Street East would be about $2,852,774.
Both estimates are based on a facility 16,330 sq. ft. in size.
Other sites that were considered included the corner of Front Street and Mosher Avenue, the Sixth Street School, and Alexander MacKenzie School, which the Rainy River District School Board is expected to sell tonight to Crozier Warehouse.
The library board also approached the owners of the old Fort Frances High School on First Street East.
“We didn’t hear from them,” said board member Jean Boileau. “They didn’t seem to be interested.”
Cunningham said they will not begin fundraising efforts for the new library until 2006, citing a desire not to take attention away from the skateboard park or the Fort Frances Museum, which currently have fundraising campaigns on the go.
In the meantime, board members will begin an informational campaign in the fall to make sure people are aware of their plans, as well as look into funding options at the federal and provincial level.
“If we want to be in a position to access any provincial or federal funds, we have to show we have done our homework,” Cunningham said.
As for a completion date, she said it was too early to set, but added she personally would like to walk into the new library in 2010.