Letter: Consider Campbell's site for new library
By Tom Cashel, Byron
I was born in Worthington more than half a century ago. After college, my life took me away from that town. I frequently return and with each visit I observe mostly good improvements and solid growth of the city.
Regarding the proposal to build a new public library in Worthington: Can someone enlighten me as to how and why the former swimming pool location is the ‘best’ place for a new library? Have feasibility studies been completed that would determine optimum locations for such a public entity? The availability of ‘free land’ is a poor reason to build a library on the former swimming pool site.
I know a library has minimum impact on a neighborhood, but a public building needs to be in a very public place with adequate streets to accommodate the added traffic of library patrons. Any sort of event held at the library will increase the local traffic immensely.
The former swimming pool location is 100 percent directly in the midst of a low-density residential area. To the west is a golf course. Directly south is Lake Okabena with a public swimming beach and beautiful park. How does a public library fit into that land use?
The former Central Elementary School building directly across the street from the current library would have been a prime and convenient location to convert into a new library. But after many years of potential opportunity, that option was bungled and the building razed. With the new development of that city block, now there is not enough space to build a new library on that site.
What is wrong with the vacant land available at the former Campbell’s Soup Co. location near the Second Avenue dam? The roads and infrastructure are already in place to accommodate development of a public building there. Recently, the area was good enough to build a new fire station. That location is easy to access by anybody, both locals and out-of-towners. Try giving a rural Nobles County resident simple directions to the former swimming pool site. Maybe another roundabout could be designed into the pool site plan?
Have there been any environmental impact studies done on developing the former pool site? Is it prudent to destroy forever the quiet, pleasant green space that is available to all residents of the community, not to mention the animal world? I won’t even go into the fact that building and paving over every available tract of land does not help replenish the underground water supply. Green space is important to recharging the aquifer.
Thank God that former land owner E. O. Olson (and so many others in the area) had the vision and wisdom to know that natural green spaces interspersed throughout an urban environment are so very important to maintaining a thriving community. Do you realize the uniqueness of all the public areas and pedestrian trails around Lake Okabena and other places within the community and throughout the county? Now there was some amazing vision to the future when those spaces were set aside for the people.
Plan ahead, residents of Worthington, so you won’t have to learn by your mistakes. When the green space is destroyed, we all lose.