New Downtown Library Put 'Back on the Shelf'

By: Kari Huston
By: Kari Huston

The idea of a new Downtown South Bend Library Branch was put "back on the shelf" tonight by the St. Joseph County Library Board.

However, taxpayers will see additions to four library branches and the new construction of two branches with no increase to taxes. Lasalle, Western, Tutt and Riverpark will each receive building renovations of an additional 3,000 square feet. The Roger B. Francis Branch on Ironwood will be torn down and a new branch will be built next year. A new library will also be built in German township behind the Meijer store at Portage and Cleveland Roads.

St. Joseph County will pay off two bond issues by the end of 2007. So the Library Board will ask taxpayers to renew those bond issues for the same amount. That money will pay for all library projects, except the Main Branch. Including the main branch in the library bond would have increases taxes by five cents per $1,000 accessed value of a taxpayer's home. Thus, building a new Main Library will be put off for an estimated ten years. Architects will continue working on plans for the Main Branch in the hopes that a capital plan can help offset the cost of that new building project in the future.

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