Mixed reactions about new downtown library

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Posted: Sep 17, 2010 4:53 PM by Sarah Rosario
Updated: Sep 17, 2010 7:09 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 5.0 (1 vote)

Topics: downtown, library, vote, construction, board, River Center, Baton Rouge

There are mixed emotions after yesterday's board meeting to approve the destruction of the downtown library and replace it with a new one.

Some said there are plenty reasons to go.

"[It’s a] good place to study and to catch up on news events and some good quiet time and meeting people actually," said Baton Rouge resident John Davis.

"I actually go whenever I need a little lunch break, I need to stop in and check something on the computer or if I am tutoring a student," said Courtney Bibby.

One library board member, Stanford Bardwell Jr., voted against it because he said he feels the plans are too big and too expensive, at $16 million plus.

"We have to staff that facility; it takes more furniture to be put inside. More people have to work there," said Bardwell.

Bardwell proposed to renovate the library by expanding it about 6,000 feet. This would cap the price at about $6 million.

Others believe a new look for this building could benefit downtown.

"I can't think of anything more appropriate than to have an educational learning facility as the centerpiece of that town square," said Director of Downtown Development Davis Rhorer.

Other Baton Rouge residents said they have no plans to use the new library because the location is out of their way or they just don't have a need for it.

"I have a computer at the house. I use that, and if I see a book I want, I usually buy it," said Pat Mitchell.

The cost of replacing the existing River Center facility comes at a cost of up to $19 million. Final approval of the new library will go before the Metro Council in December.

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