Opinion

Why vote Yes for the Library Bond?

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On May 20, voters in the Arlington area will be asked to approve an $8.8 million bond to construct a new branch library in Arlington. Residents of the greater Arlington community have an opportunity of a lifetime to greatly improve the quality of life and make a significant investment in the critical infrastructure of our growing community by voting Yes on the Library Bond.

When our existing Arlington library opened for the first time, it was at capacity. Now, 25 years later our library building is bursting at the seams. As Mayor, I am often asked to support community efforts to develop and expand facilities and infrastructure. I am proud to fully support the construction of this new facility and ask all of you to also support this endeavor with your Yes vote.

At a mere 5,000-square-feet, the current library simply does not meet the current and future needs of our growing City. With a new, 20,000-square-foot facility, Arlington's Library will be able to better serve our burgeoning population. I have seen first hand our local residents, adults and children alike, waiting to use the limited number of computer terminals to do research, find a book or send an e-mail to a loved one. With a new facility, the library will have four times as many computers for our visitors to use. The new Library will also be able hold almost double the amount of books, CDs, DVDs and magazines in its collection over 98,000 items.

To show its commitment to this vital project, the city has committed to converting the existing city-owned library building into a Community Center for the public to use. The city continually receives requests for meeting space for community organizations and clubs that we simply cannot accommodate within our existing facilities. The conversion of this facility will ease the burden on our already overbooked facilities. In addition, it will provide space for the city's growing Recreation programming that provides classes for all ages in art, gardening, foreign languages, history and much more.

Like many of you, I have been watching the economic condition very closely. I can understand the concern that this will cost too much. The bond proposal will cost 14 cents per $1,000 of your home's assessed value. This translates to $42 per year on a $300,000 home, or $3.50 per month. In my mind, this is a small price to pay to gain not one but two important community facilities.

Libraries are more than buildings that house books. They are community gathering centers that provide opportunities for all ages to learn and grow as human beings. An unprecedented opportunity is before this community with the construction of one new building, we also convert existing space to meet a significant community need. It's not very often that we get a two for one deal.

I hope you will join me on May 20 by voting Yes to build a new library in our great community of Arlington.

Why vote Yes for the Library Bond?

n Two buildings for the price of one. A new 20,000-square-foot Arlington library and the 5,000 square foot existing library becomes a City Community Center.

n The price is right. The bond will cost the homeowner of a $300,000 house $42 per year, equivalent of $3.50 per month.

n The number of Public Computers will quadruple, providing a significant increase in access

n Public seating for reading, studying, and programs will increase to over three times the current availability.

n More available parking, with easier access to both facilities over 80 parking spaces will be constructed to meet the demands of both facilities. This is a six-fold increase in the number of spaces.

n The new facility increases public meeting space availability by over 5,000-square-feet.

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