Should it stay or should it go?
The Fenton City Council has asked Manager Lynn Markland to begin the process for a feasibility study of the current
A study would determine whether the current site can continue as a library, or why the property won't work, Markland said. In addition, the study will tell Fenton what its are for a library.
A study will tell the city whether it should put more money into its current building, or start thinking of a new location for the library, said Councilman Ben Smith.
Bobbie Sweetman, representing the Jack R. Winegarden Library, said the city began using its former U.S. Post Office on Caroline Street as a library in the late 1960s. Thus, Fenton has a library site, but the question is whether the city can use the current site to improve the library in a substantial way, she said.
Councilman Brad Jacob said his choice is to have a study of what Fenton wants for a library in the future. It would determine whether the library will have future problems if it stays in the same building, or look at a different setup. And if the current building doesn't work as a library anymore, Fenton could put another phase of its downtown development there, like it is doing with the old fire hall, he added.
He believes the bottom floor of the library should be open for vendors to rent space, which would help financially support the building, Jacob said.
Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl King said Fenton should partner with other communities on the library. From library card use statistics, there is information on numbers of people from surrounding areas who use the Jack R. Winegarden Library. Fenton officials want everyone to use the library, but they need help from all of the municipalities, she said.
Councilman Les Bland said, in his opinion, the community has outgrown its library. But the city doesn't know this yet.
King added Fenton owns a piece of land adjacent to the current library site.
Bland said any feasibility study he was involved with, in about 40 years working in the city Department of Public Works, cost $10,000 or more, minimum.
Markland said he can get preliminary cost estimates on a feasibility study for council to look at, and council can decide what direction to take from there.
Genesee District Library officials can advise Fenton on who to contact for information on a study, Sweetman said.
Councilwoman Pat Lockwood said the architect for the community center have "bent over backwards" to move the community center project along. In addition, the is an historic building, like the Jack R. Winegarden Library.
Fenton might get a good rate on a library feasibility study by using the same architect that is working on the community center plans, she said.
"It's just music to our ears to hear you talking about this," Sweetman said, of council's discussion.