Readers express their views on referendum for new Oregon library
Tremble urges no vote for new Oregon library
I am writing to strongly urge you to vote no on the two library referendums on the upcoming ballot.
While the existing building may not be working well, why does the only alternative require building an $8.2M, 23,000-plus square feet brick building with an art gallery, meeting rooms, and a “teen lounge” for a building whose primary purpose is to house and loan out books?
I find it ironic that on the Oregon library’s website, they note that the size of their proposed “state of the art library” is only as big as recommended by the state for a community of Oregon’s size.
This spending advice is coming from a state that routinely ranks in the bottom 2 or 3 states concerning fiscal responsibility.
For years and years the state has dug itself into a hole, freely spending our money wildly beyond its means on pet projects, and is now encouraging its communities to do so as well.
One of the arguments I’ve heard supporting the new library is that if we don’t approve this project, we will lose out on the $3.7M of “free” money. Let’s all be adults here, this money is not free.
The state does not have the money for this project, so it is issuing even more bonds — further digging deeper its hole towards insolvency. At some point the adults in the room need to stand up and say enough!
While a new state of the art library may be nice, it is a luxury that we and the state simply cannot afford.
Instead of spending over $8M on a new building, why can’t we take look at other potential lower cost facilities that could be repurposed to turn the library into a simple low-cost warehouse of books that would include a few meeting rooms for book clubs and children’s activities, and section for public use computers?
The old Pineway Supermarket building is currently vacant and listed for sale for $299,000. This facility has ample parking and is totally handicapped accessible.
I would imagine that with another $1,000,000 or so in renovations, you could have a very usable library space. The cost for purchasing the Pineway facility could be funded by selling the lots the library owns near the post office.
If the proposed $8.2M library building, which tax payers are on the hook for $4.5M, would cost the average household $102 per year, the $1M or so solution outlined above would cost just over $20 per year...a much more reasonable outlay.
While it may require giving up the big fancy brick building, the art gallery, the meeting rooms and the “teen lounge”, that’s a trade-off that I, and I would guess many other tax payers, could live with.
New library building is more than book space
The people of Oregon have been given a great opportunity to build a new library for half the cost thanks to a one-time $3.6 million grant.
The biggest objections I have heard around town are: 1) the current library is just fine and we don’t want to lose the building, 2) libraries are not important in the 21st century, and 3) the tax burden would be too great.
I’d like to address these arguments.
First of all, the current library, while historic and beautiful, is not accessible by all members of the community. It is not wheelchair, walker, or stroller-accessible.
In addition, its usage is limited by lack of space. The current Oregon Public Library District trustees understand people’s concerns about the significance of the current library building.
They have formed a committee to research options for use of the building in the future.
Second, libraries have proven to be important in the 21st century. As the library referendum campaign slogan states, the Oregon Public Library District is “Beyond Books.”
A new library building will provide so much more than adequate shelf space for the library’s book collections.
It will include a community meeting room that will hold approximately 75 people, a separate art gallery for the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony collection, several study or meeting rooms, a teen lounge, a large children’s area including an activity room, many computers, large open spaces and secluded nooks, both with comfortable furniture for adults to relax and read.
Third, the increased tax burden on homeowners in the Oregon Public Library District would be limited. A house valued at $100,000 would see an increase of approximately $102 per year (only $87 per year for a senior).
This is about half of what the tax increase would be if we didn’t have the $3.6 million grant and this grant is a one-time offer – we either use it now or we lose it forever.
Overall, I believe we, the residents of the Oregon Public Library District, need to focus on the future and the larger, forward-looking picture for Oregon.
Please support the future growth of our community by voting “Yes” to build this new “living room” for the community.
Best days of old library building have passed
Face it, the best days of the wonderful old library in Oregon have passed. It is inadequate as a library, and is holding Oregon back to a time before the digital age.
A new library will move the community forward, with access to computers and wi-fi, public meeting rooms, off-street parking and easy access for strollers and wheelchairs.
Picture utilizing these top-notch services, then add the one-time state grant of $3.7 million, and “Yes!” seems the obvious choice for both the small tax rate increase and the bond issue that will make this possible.
Early voting prior to election day April 9 is easy, and is already taking place on the lower floor of the courthouse.
Make sure to register and then vote “Yes!” on the new library!
Moehle says Oregon needs a new library
My name is J. Stephen Moehle, son of the late Robert and Eleanor Moehle, and I care about the town of Oregon.
Oregon, Illinois is my home and my parents also loved the town of Oregon. I receive the weekly paper and I see the library is trying to pass a referendum this April.
know nobody likes their taxes raised but the library is receiving a grant of almost half the cost of the library which is awesome.
I believe the town of Oregon needs a new library and if you break down the cost monthly it is not a lot.
A source told me a local couple spent $100 for a movie and dinner and this would almost cover the increase in the taxes for almost a year.
Doesn’t the town of Oregon deserve a new library and I hope the community will pass the referendum.
Oregon is a great community and has a lot to offer.
J. Stephen Moehle