The idea of Twin Lakes contributing to the purchase of a building to serve as a branch of the Community Library in Silver Lake received a cool reception from Twin Lakes Village Board members at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting Monday.
Late last year, the Silver Lake Village Board unanimously voted to purchase a former daycare building on Second Street to serve as a Silver Lake library branch. The village is borrowing $250,000 — $200,000 for the building and $50,000 for renovations.
Silver Lake officials assumed — based on discussions at the Library Board level — that each of the five members of the Community Library system would contribute $50,000 toward the purchase. Salem electors approved contributing $50,000 but the other members of the library system — Paddock Lake, Twin Lakes and Randall — have not acted on the matter.
The Community Library cannot own or buy real estate. Any property purchased or owned must be done through member municipalities.
At Monday’s meeting, Trustee Kevin Fitzgerald, who also sits on the Library Board as a Twin Lakes representative, broached the topic by giving a quick report on a meeting at the new library site last Wednesday. Silver Lake now, after the request of the other municipalities, is preparing an intergovernmental agreement that would govern how the cost sharing would work, Fitzgerald said.
Other municipalities want a referendum, an idea that Fitzgerald said he would not oppose. “(A referendum) doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me,” Fitzgerald said.
Trustee Sharon Bower, a former member of the Library Board, addressed what she called poor attendance at the current Silver Lake branch, an about 1,000-square-foot space the library system rents on Cogswell Drive. That building has poor parking, is located on a busy street and has little space for programming.
But other trustees acknowledged that a better library in Silver Lake likely would increase use, just as the expansion of the branch in Twin Lakes has increased use since it expanded.
“It will probably increase traffic through the door,” Trustee Aaron Karow said.
But that reality acknowledged, trustee still weren’t ready to pay up.
“I don’t think it makes sense for the village to own a piece of property in Silver Lake,” Karow said.
Resident Linda Smith, speaking from the audience, said she remembered that the other municipalities were not willing to share in the cost of Twin Lakes building a new branch when that was considered a few years ago.
The board will likely have a chance to formerly weigh-in on the issue in the future, perhaps when the intergovernmental agreement comes up for approval.