After Mayor Harding announced to the public the City of Yelm could only afford up to $600,000 to purchase a new library building, he presented a plan April 27, 2011 to the Timberland Regional Library (TRL) Board to purchase the leased Yelm library facility for $1.2 million in a unique condo-deal.
Harding told the TRL Board during his presentation that he had not previously discussed this proposal with the Yelm City Council, which was against the Yelm Municipal Code and Revised Code of Washington (RCW), as covered here June 13, 2011.
On Tuesday, September 25, 2012, the Yelm City Council authorized a Wire Transfer to Prairie Park for the $1,011,918.33 balance owed on the condo, as building owner Margaret Clapp gifted $200,000 through a price reduction.
This blogger previously suggested the Fairpoint Communications Building and the vacant former Yelm Family Medicine building as excellent choices for a library, with these features:
1. Both have ample street or lot parking available, where Prairie Park does not.
2. Both are first floor facilities, Prairie Park is in a less-than-suitable second floor for a community library.
3. Yelm pays for unusable square footage on two floors with a foyer and elevator hall in Prairie Park, not so in the other structures.
4. The Fairpoint Building would have provided better public access, more usable square footage and at a lower overall price and is more centrally located.
The price for the Prairie Park facility was $1.2 million for 8,962 square feet = $134 for a square foot ($112 per square foot, after subtracting Margaret Clapp’s $200,000 price reduction).
The Fairpoint Communications Building has a list price of $875,000 for 7,400 square feet = $118 for a square foot for all first-floor preferred accessibility. (this is the list price, which means the purchase price could be less.)
The Fairpoint Building has no unused square footage as in Prairie Park’s two floors with an elevator foyer, has a beautiful courtyard outside that would have been a wonderful reading retreat for the public plus an open and airy accessible first-floor.
No matter what I did to suggest this option and others, the city said they looked at 4 alternatives and all were unsuitable, though they never revealed those options to the public nor why they were declined.
The city kept saying the moving costs to another locale were too high. I never bought that excuse and was never shown statistics to convince me otherwise.
The only library option Mayor Harding publicly presented was always Clapp’s Prairie Park, as if this choice was already decided, regardless of the fact the price was double what Harding previously said the city could afford.
Purchasing Clapp’s 2nd floor library condo at any cost was the SCRIPT all along, IMHO!
Perhaps now, Yelm would consider buying the Fairpoint Building for their proposed $1 million community center, which the City Council tacked onto the Library bond without public discourse!
[This post was written by Steve Klein. Klein is a former 2003 Mayor appointee to the Yelm Library Citizens Advisory Board and subsequently that Board’s chosen Chair.]