Entrepreneur interested in extra library land

 

An unnamed entrepreneur is showing interest in developing a recreation center on the west side of Monticello, possibly on spare land currently owned by the Allerton Public Library District.

Library Director Lisa Winters told the library board on Sept. 5 that more info may be presented at next month’s session on Oct. 3.

“He is interested in putting up an indoor rec center,” said Winters, who said the interested party has discussed the possibility of purchasing two to three acres to the west of the library building on 4000 Green Apple Lane.

“He appears to have thought about this long and hard, and he’s talked to others about properties, but he sees the appeal of the library being here, and being a good neighbor.”

Winters also sees it as a good fit for the city-owned 30 acres next door, which was purchased as a possible home for recreational fields.

The library purchased 10.98 acres from the Carle Foundation in December of 2012 and constructed a new building on it that opened in August of 2016. The building and parking lot occupy about half of the land, and Winters said they would also like to keep two to three acres for possible expansion.

Monticello Director of Community Development Callie Jo McFarland would not confirm whether there had been interest in a development, but said if such an effort was formally proposed, “the library would have to form into a subdivision” if it wished to sell a portion, and would also need to “consider access and utilities.”

The only access to the library land is currently off of Green Apple Lane, and McFarland said it would not be ideal to access a second parcel behind the building by traveling through the library parking lot.

Access would likely need to come off of Green Apple Lane between the library and Apple Tree Subdivision or off of Old Route 47.

If divided in two, the land would be considered a minor subdivision. In Monticello that requires administrative and city council approval only and no hearings before the planning and zoning board.

Winters said it would need to be advertised for sale and open to competitive bidding.

A laugh over policies
Wording in a required policy elicited chuckles when read by Winters. Reviews of policies are required at board meetings in order to be eligible for certain state grants, but the library director pointed out that wording on “intellectual freedom” is showing its age.

“The medium of the internet is a brave new world,” read Winters, which drew the first laugh. “It has often been characterized as an electronic wild west.”

Besides being drafted for the state library’s trustee fact file about a decade ago, library board member

Luke Feeney opined “that’s still pretty true. I don’t think that’s out of date at all!”

Library boards do not make changes to those policies, but are required to review a certain number of them each year.

Other action
In other action, the board:

–approved the annual budget and appropriation ordinance for the fiscal year that began July 1. It had no changes from the preliminary document that had been approved earlier;

–heard that 258 youth took part in the summer reading program, including 68 preschoolers, 134 in first through fifth grades and 46 middle and junior high school-aged children. Winters said the sixth through 12th grade numbers showed an increase over last summer; and

–was told plans are being drawn up to repair and expand the irrigation system. The work may not be completed this fall as originally planned.

 

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