(KCPW News) The Salt Lake City Library Board has adopted a statement against building a public safety complex on Library Square. Board President Helen Rollins says the board is in an awkward situation, coming out against Mayor Ralph Becker's plan, while also asking the city to increase property taxes to expand library programs. But, she adds:
"We also, I think, feel very strongly that our job as library board members is to be a steward for the library and all it stands for," Rollins says. "And therefore, our position represents not only our opinions, but the opinions of our patrons, our staff and everyone who considers the library the very best asset this community has."
Rollins says the board's two-hour meeting yesterday afternoon was a very deliberate conversation about the impacts of building a public safety building and emergency operations center on Library Square. She says the board had many issues with the proposal, including accessibility, preserving green space and what she describes as a philosophical change for the block, which was set aside to preserve intellectual freedom and freedom of speech.
The board did not adopt a position on the alternative proposal, to build the complex across the street, on the east side of 300 East. Rollins says there wasn't enough information about that option to craft an opinion.
"This has been an amazing process for us because it's been quite a shock and we've tried to keep up with as much and all both historical and current information. I'm not saying it's written in blood," Rollins says.
The board could re-evaluate its position after three public meetings scheduled to gather input on the plans. The first is this Saturday at the Main City Library from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meetings are also scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday.