By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org April 3, 2012 9:16PM
AURORA — After weeks in of debate in the city’s Finance Committee, the Aurora Public Library plan to build a new downtown facility is moving forward.
In a special meeting Tuesday, the three-member Finance Committee voted unanimously to approve a motion that will allow the city to seek bonds for the building of a $28 million library at Benton and River streets. The full council was presented plans Tuesday night and will vote on the library proposal next week.
Under the plan, the new library would be 92,000 square feet, twice the size of the existing 44,000-square-foot library at Stolp Avenue and Benton Street. If bonds are issued, residents with an $180,000 home would pay $26.40 a year for the library until 2041, according to Aurora Finance Director Brian Caputo.
Library Building Committee Chairman John Savage said Tuesday that the $30 million in bonds will not only build the new downtown library but also implement changes that will affect the entire community, including new satelllite locations in the Northeast and Southeast parts of the city.
Library Executive Director Eva Luckinbill said the existing downtown library is in great disrepair, lacks an adequate fire suppression system and is not up to building or disability codes.
Alderman Rick Lawrence, 4th Ward, said after the meeting he had issues with the contractors working on the new downtown library project. Cordogan, Clark and Associates are the architect and R.C. Wegman Construction is the slated project contractor.
“The plan they presented tonight was the exact same plan they presented months ago,” Lawrence said.
The vote in next week’s City Council meeting could be close,
Alderman John “Whitey” Peters, 5th Ward, said he will vote in favor of the new downtown library location. Abby Schuler, 1st Ward; Lynda Elmore, 10th Ward; and Bob O’Connor, At-large; voted in favor of the library in a Finance Committee meeting. Alderman Richard Irvin, At-large, and Alderman Mike Saville, 6th Ward, said they’ll both likely vote in favor of the new library next week, too.
Lawrence, 4th Ward, and Alderman Allan Lewandwoski, 9th Ward, said they’ll both likely vote against the proposal.
Alderman Juany Garza, 2nd Ward, Alderman Stephanie Kifowit, 3rd Ward; and Alderman Scheketa Hart-Burns, 7th Ward, each said after the meeting they had no comment.
Alderman Rick Mervine, 8th Ward, said he will abstain from a vote, citing a conflict.
In his State of the City speech last week, Mayor Tom Weisner showed strong support for a new library.