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Letter: Consider west side location for new library

Mary Kutzbach, Worthington

There have been comments made that the future location of the new library is cut and dried —that it will be near the site of the former municipal swimming pool. I would hope the decision is not cut and dried, and I, too, want to thank Commissioner Matt Widboom for saying he wants to hear the thoughts of Nobles County residents.

I am wondering what this recent trend is to locate buildings on the west side of town. There are certain buildings that you think of as being centrally located — grocery stores, a YMCA and a public library, to name a few. Thankfully, Fareway and Hy-Vee made the choice of a central location for their recent building projects and placed them in locations that are more equally accessible for all community residents. I would hope that county commissioners would think of equal access for a library, too.

Do residents near the former swimming pool want a public building in their neighborhood? That part of town seems more residential and recreational. Wouldn’t a public building seem out of place at this location?

E.O. Olson donated the property (near the former swimming pool) with the understanding that the property was not to be developed. Wouldn’t the appropriate thing to do be to honor his wishes? I would think it could make any future donations to the city or county be questioned by possible donors if they thought their wishes for such a donation may be disregarded.

The granddaughter of E.O. Olson was contacted, and she thought her grandparents would be delighted with a library being located on property they had formerly owned. Grandmother Olson liked to get books from the library and read them by the lake. Grandmother Olson could be equally happy under those circumstances if the new library was located at the former Campbell Soup Co. site. It as close to the lake as the former swimming pool site, and as many long-time residents of Worthington know, that parcel of property was also previously owned by E.O. Olson when it was the Worthington Creamery & Produce.

It has been stated there are some possible environmental concerns with the land at this site, but the land needs to be developed at some point. Why not explore what it would cost to take care of any environmental issues now? Possibly, there are grants available for any potential “environmental costs” if a building such as a public library were to be placed at this location. I believe this property is now owned by the city of Worthington. I think it could be a good joint venture by the city and county to further explore this option, and a good contribution on the part of the city toward a public library. A new library would be a nice addition to this part of the community near the recently built fire hall.

County commissioners: Please consider other ideas away from the west side of town. A public library is a building that needs to be in a “public” part of town — a city center, or at least a central location within the community. And city council members: Please think of what an asset this would be to the community and then consider some type of contribution or collaboration on the part of the city.

Thanks to all of you for your time as county commissioners and city council members.