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Officials to Look at Renovating Fenton Library or Creating New Site

A study would tell whether city should put more money into its current location, or begin thinking of a new library site, councilman says.

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.

Jason Alexander (Editor) June 06, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Do you think Fenton should renovate the Jack R. Winegarden Library or create a new site?
Bev Fitzgerald June 06, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Whatever makes sense financially. This made me think of when the library was located where the Fenton Museum now is, hard to believe it fit in that little space.
Becky Joe June 06, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I like where it is now. Can an addition be added?
Sarah June 06, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I do like it's current location, the parking can be a hassle though. I also like that it's a building with history, even the restrooms are neat. What area of the downstairs are they going to open to vendors? The only areas I can think of are the teen room and the children's area...
Carrie June 07, 2012 at 07:50 PM
The library is hard to park at, and a lot smaller than library's in even smaller communities. A lot of the books seem older and there is not a big selection. We normally go to Springfield Township library, and love it. 10 years or so ago they were half the size of Fenton's library, in a very small building. They always have what we are looking for. I would love to find the books I want closer to home.
Troy Husted June 15, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I agree that the current building has a historical charm and is pleasing. They need to keep the library right where it is and place ad addition to the back of the building and to the land east of the library. Addtional property can be bought around the library to create additional parking space. Additional parking will be created when they start developing the Cornerstone building and tearing out the building along the street. Problem, is just getting them to start speeding on the projects and start redeveloping.
Judith L. Fisher August 16, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Why not consider the building at 2425 Point Place that would like to be leased on Shiawassee across from the Vet? It looks new. Or why not turn the huge Bean Co. into a large library (except for the fact it is so near the railroad tracks). It's historical and there is room for creativity. An idea to buy up two or three pieces of property around the location where it is now to make an edition that allows for room for all of our items on the catalog is imperative. There simply is no room for all that we have now. Add onto the current location is O.K. if it meets city codes in all respects for safety reasons and practical budgeting.
Judith L. Fisher August 16, 2012 at 02:44 AM
It would be great if people got excited and enthused about whatever we want to make happen instead of covering old ground.

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