Irvin L. Young Memorial Library may be getting an expansion in the near future according to the most recent Whitewater Common Council meeting.
The Whitewater Library Board is currently in talks with a partner in order to make this dream a reality. Most recently, the estimate was about $10 million and would rely on partners to make the expansion a public and private partnership.
Troy Hoekstra, who was in charge of Platteville’s expansion, has modeled Whitewater’s expansion similar to theirs. The new library would be 25,000 square feet and be leased for seven years for $250,000 a year and connected to a private hotel. This project is estimated to cost between $15-16 million. The municipal funds and the annual lease payment would cut the costs of a $7-8 million to potentially $2.5 million and an annual lease of possibly $250,000. This would be considered a significant bargain considering the circumstances and save the city over $4 million. Alderman Chris Grady also made a valid claim saying that the city will be able to reap the benefits immediately from the hotel. “You gotta mention too is they’re going to be doing a significant development that since this is not in a TIF district, we get tax revenue immediately. We don’t have to wait years before we start getting revenue out of this.”
Whitewater has become an attractive market for developers thanks to the New Market Tax Credit that provides tax credit incentives to developers for equity investments in low-income communities. With the city being able to make almost an immediate profit off of the hotel, it seems almost too good to be true making Alderman Stephanie Goettl a little skeptical of this project. “I think an open mind is important. I just think that we have to be very realistic when we are approaching something that sounds like the most incredible deal in the world because often when something sounds like the most incredible deal in the world it usually is too good to be true.”
There are factors that would need to be worked out. Rumors are saying the developers are stingy about the location, with the developer wanting the project somewhere on Main Street, which does not have much more room to place future buildings, especially a space big enough to fit a project of that magnitude. The other big problem Alderman Goettl had was the fact that there is no guarantee of following through on the plan, leaving the city to cover the costs of the entire project.
The High Strength Waste Receiving Station has been narrowed down to two possibilities between rejecting Alternative 7 to change order to stub lines and contracting with Baker Tilly to find a joint venture. By rejecting Alternative 7, the high strength waste receiving station would be removed and stub out lines from digester into an area of a future receiving station. This project would cost $431,103 with $52,000 included to stub the utilities to the proposed receiving station site. The council has also been in contact with Baker Tilly and even provided the city with a proposal that includes locating a joint venture partner that will provide most or all of the funding to construct the receiving station and revenue sharing for services provided by the utility. The common council will make their decision March 15th.
- The Rescue Squad’s request to purchase a cot loading mechanism was denied as it would be considered “going down a slippery slope” allowing money from the Hospital Fund to be used for outside of its use.
- A one-year extension of Strand Associates Tech Services was passed.
- Center Street, Summit Street, Boone Street and George Street all were approved for reconstruction done by Strand Associates Tech Services.
- The common council will not meet April 19 because of an organizational meeting taking place in the Old Main ballroom.
- The city denied the $4,199.84 claim made against the city because of sewer backups damaging the house.