October 16, 2013 - A resolution authorizing city officials to work with the St. Louis County Library District in an effort to keep the Tesson Ferry Branch County Library in Green Park was adopted last week by the Board of Aldermen.
Aldermen voted 5-0 to approve the resolution that authorizes Mayor Bob Reinagel and City Administrator/City Clerk Zella Pope to work with library officials "to explore all options and ideas to facilitate retaining the Tesson Ferry Library Branch within the city of Green Park."
Ward 1 Alderman Tony Pousosa was absent from Friday night's special meeting.
The St. Louis County Library Board of Trustees is looking to move its Tesson Ferry Branch County Library from Green Park to the southeast corner of Gravois and Musick roads, across from Grant's Farm.
The city's resolution states, "… The city finds that the Tesson Ferry Library Branch is a major asset to the city, its residents and the residents of St. Louis County, providing the community with much-needed and much-used information and resources."
"... We want to present this to the library board, but we also want to see if we have any thoughts, suggestions or ideas going forward as to what we can do, where it can go ...," Reinagel said.
Voters approved a 6-cent tax-rate increase to fund construction, renovation and upgrades to library facilities last fall.
Regarding the Tesson Ferry branch, the library's facilities master plan states, "The building structure is deteriorating, mechanical systems are failing and the property features multiple sinkholes. The design of the parking lot is inefficient and the number of spaces is inadequate."
The plan recommends the 55-year-old existing branch be replaced with a new building "on a new site." The plan estimates the cost of a new building at $20 million, including land.
"... Sinkholes, they seem to be putting a lot of pressure on that," Reinagel said. "Well, sinkholes are almost everywhere in south county and most of the time they're engineered and taken care of. And I suspect these are or could be ..."
The mayor said he had attempted to contact library officials, including Board of Trustees President Lynn Beckwith and Communications Director Jennifer McBride, but received no response.
At a July 30 work session of the Board of Aldermen, Pousosa raised the subject of the library, mentioning the Jim Butler auto dealership across from Aldi as a potential new library site.
At an Aug. 19 county Planning Commission public hearing and at the library board meeting earlier that day in Frontenac, residents told library officials they are unhappy with the proposed new location and believe it is inaccessible for them due to its location on Musick Road, a heavily trafficked road they avoid for safety reasons.
Library officials are analyzing traffic around the proposed site to see if the location will work despite residents' concerns.
Green Park resident Fred Hoehn, who led the effort to incorporate the city and served as a Ward 2 alderman from 1998 to 2000, appeared before the library board this spring to ask that the library stay in Green Park.
At the library board's May meeting, Hoehn said, "Consider Clydesdale Park. It meets all your stated parameters. It would save money, help St. Louis (County's) park budget. It would keep something of cultural value in the immediate area. We have very little of cultural value in the city of Green Park or the surrounding area.
"Your library meets this need."