Monday, January 18, 2010

Lake Dallas in the news

Lake Dallas sizes up library plan

City discusses expanding facility as other Lake Cities look at options

07:39 AM CST on Monday, January 18, 2010
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
LAKE DALLAS — City leaders are putting together a proposal they hope will keep all the Lake Cities in the fold as they expand the Lake Cities Library.

Lake Dallas City Council members agreed during a workshop Thursday to draw up plans for expanding the site where the library currently sits.

City Manager Earl Berner estimated it would cost about $1 million to expand the current building, fix the parking and upgrade the exterior and landscaping. The city of Lake Dallas owns the building and leases it to the library.

“There are still a number of balls up in the air on the subject,” Berner told the council, alluding to talks in Hickory Creek about building a new library there and discussion in Corinth about contracting with Denton for library services.

The Lake Cities Library’s small size — about a quarter of what the state library association recommends for the population being served — was a hot topic during budget discussions last year. Hickory Creek officials were emboldened after the library board tentatively agreed that moving to a leased space in Cornelius Town Center could begin to address the problem.

They appointed a task force to study fundraising options for the move and a possible bond election for a new building.

But, of the amount of money needed to fund the move, only Hickory Creek allocated its full share. All three other member cities — Corinth, Lake Dallas and Shady Shores — allocated the share that would fully fund the library where it currently sits in Lake Dallas.

Berner said he’s checked with the other cities and found there has been little movement since budget talks last fall. Officials in Hickory Creek and Corinth told him they continued to gather information, Berner said. Shady Shores officials said they preferred a partnership in Lake Dallas.

If Hickory Creek and Corinth leave the library to pursue their own options, the city could still make improvements to the site but would probably scale back the plans, Berner said.

Council member Karl Hammond was concerned about Corinth’s possible exit from the longtime partnership. Should Corinth opt for a contract with Denton Public Library instead of the Lake Cities Library, many Corinth residents would come to the Lake Cities anyway, “and we’d be paying for them to use it for free,” Hammond said.

Hammond, who is on the library board, thought some users, particularly those residents who walk and bike to the library, would be among those least able to pay a nonresident membership fee. Several council members agreed that could be a problem.

Council member B.W. Brooks encouraged the city staff to include space for a community center as they draw up proposals.

After the meeting, Berner pointed to the new library and community center in Aubrey as a good example of what the city could pursue.

In his experience, people want their public buildings to be a point of pride, he said, but they aren’t always ready to pay for them.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is .

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