A seemingly small item from old business became a hot topic as the Price City Council meeting was drawing to a conclusion on Wednesday night. Unfinished business agenda items normally have little comment, but the ADA ramps for the library/auditorium bid request turned into more than a routine issue.
Library Board Chair Nadine Morris stated that the board has been looking at alternatives to better serve the community after they decided that a new building was not going to be feasible in the near future. Most activities take place on the main floor of the building because access to the basement area is down a narrow steep stairway.
The board missed the deadline to submit to the capital building fund, but had hoped that they could begin accepting bids on a side access ramp that would allow basement area utilization. Councilman Wayne Clausing wanted to know if they were going to move more toward e-books, thus needing less space overall. He also said they could look at using the upstairs more efficiently to avoid the cost of the ramp.
Morris said that they had been increasing library usage and e-books were already a large reason why, but there was not enough room for both children’s activities and a quiet space for patrons in the existing area.
Councilman Grady McEvoy was concerned that this was sidestepping the process. He is adamant that it needs to be part of the capital building process. Mayor Joe Piccolo questioned the board about what affect the delay would cause library patrons.
Present board members were frustrated about the questioning and concerned the project would not be viewed as a priority or possibly funded. Morris felt other city projects, which had run into cost overruns, hadn’t been given the same judgment as the ADA ramp project.
Mayor Piccolo said he was in support of the project, but felt that many planning steps had been overlooked that could result in cost overruns or unexpected consequences. He said the issues with the Washington Park project were not the same and that careful planning had been part of that project. He felt the ADA ramp and access should be a priority, but the proper process would benefit all in the long run.
McEvoy made a motion to deny the request and move the project into the capital building fund process, which passed.
Mayor Piccolo then asked the council to approve $5,000 from the city budget to be matched with $5,000 taken from the library budget. That money would be used to conduct a needs assessment, which would hopefully give the board ideas on utilizing their space and how to proceed with their long term planning process. McEvoy made a motion, which passed.