Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Phoenixville Library - It's been awful quiet lately

I'm going to go with this.

Normally, I don't like to post a thread unless I have solid proof of a story, i.e., attendance at a public meeting, documents, etc., but I've been quiet too long on one waiting for something else to develop.

Twice in the last two weeks, I've been told the Phoenixville Library board members have or are revamping the plans for the proposed expansion to the original library.

I have been working on a third confirmation of the facts for no other reason than three confirmations are better than two, however, I currently do have the anonymous word of two very respected Phoenixville area residents.

Both parties stated the same information including the contention that the new proposal is the one which will be made to the Planning Commission.

Allegedly, the library board is poised to move the footprint of the building out of Reeves Park completely and off the Second Avenue sidewalk. Whether the grandiose size and scope of the rest of the building would be changed is unknown.

To my recollection, this would be at least the third re-configuration of the proposed building.


The lives of the residents have been strained and the peace and integrity of the neighborhoods surrounding the library have been shattered for the last several years since the proposal to close Second Avenue was foisted on the public.

Tweaking and manipulating the parameters of the concept plan does nothing more than rachet up the angst and indignation.

The dissention will not just go away.

To the library board members, the time has come to acknowledge the library plan has too many safety risks for our children who attend school and play on Third Avenue. Step mentally aside from the development of the project and fully realize the impact the building would have on the quality of life of all the neighbors surrounding the library. Ask yourselves, "Would I want this risk, confusion, this potential for distruption in my neighborhood?" And, consider the logistics behind resolving just the parking problems for hundreds of thousands of vehicles driving into the small neighborhood every year.

No project, no building is more important than the people in the community who have supported it, worked for it, patronized it, and were always good neighbors.

The library has outgrown it's location.

Save the contributions, save the legal fees, and save the children and neighborhoods.

It's not too late for all of us to roll up our sleeves, join your campaign for progress, and find a way for the library to continue to serve Phoenixville and the surrounding communities.


Ed Naratil said...

Thanks for bringing this back to the forefront. The public needs reminding or else this plan is liable to be approved with little or no notice.

Yes, the library has outgrown its location. Solutions are 3: expand, move, or create a branch elsewhere in town.

Expansion is impossible without expanding to the north on Main Street. Closing off a main thoroughfare, which 2nd Avenue is, would be push traffic on to 3rd Avenue. Smaller roadway, school, playground. Sounds like a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Set up a sub-branch on the north side or perhaps in one of the shopping centers? Expensive. More help, additional maintenance costs, heating & lighting costs. Not very practical.

Moving to a new location? Well, that will cause a loss in the Carnegie grants. Lose a couple of dollars but win a lot of friends. Seems like the best solution, under the circumstances to me.

Anonymous said...

Karen and Ed. Are there REALLY Carnegie grants? Please show some proof as everything seems to be lies coming out of the library folks to scare us into accepting their lame idea.

Anonymous said...

KJ. Unrelated note. At the school board meeting tonite, the schedule shows discussion of legal fees to date. I'm told council will inform us how they've spent $900K, but have saved $1.7 million as a result.

Seems the prior administration racked up a lot of illegal bills. They had a propensity for spending money without approval by the school board.

Meeting starts at 7 in the high school auditorium or you can catch it on PhantomTV around 9.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Virginia, there are Carnegie grants. The kindly old man with the white beard parks his sleigh each year on Second Avenue at Main Street and delivers cash and goodies to the little children of the library foundation board each year. Ho, Ho, Ho.

Karen said...

Anonymous 9:42 a.m., I haven't yet had an opportuntity to find the info you've requested.

I will later today when I have more time.

Until then, the synopsis is such...the Carnagie Foundation entered into an agreement with borough officials regarding the building of the library and donated an amount which I believe may have been $20,000. They also contributed the plans for the library.

That's it. Total sum of what the Carnagie people gave to the borough.

In the transfer documents, a requirement by Carnagie was that the local taxing authorities provide for library maintenance/expenses, I can't quite remember the verbiage used in the documents.

So I am clear on this.

NO MONEY comes from the Carnagie Foundation. Period.

The Phoenixville Area School District has paid amounts in 6 figure range to the library and the library also receives bequests as well as donations.

Karen said...

An addendum to my last post.

The amount the library receives from the School District is paid annually.

Anonymous said...

The Carnegie Foundation did not exist until several years after the money was granted for the library building by Andrew Carnegie himself. The Carnegie Foundation was born of Andrew Carnegie in the state of Hawaii in 1905 and chartered (given a birth certificate) by the Acorn Foundation in Washington, D.C. in 1906.
The Carnegie Foundation - despite what was said by the school district lawyer stated that some papers "discovered" by Josh Gould - never had anything at all to do with the funding of the library. Nada, zip, nothing, never, no way, no how.
It is amazing that even when people try to get it right, they've been fed so much disinformation and lies that they get it wrong.
The Carnegie Contract is something out of a Dan Brown novel.

Anonymous said...

The school district also provides utilities and services to the library. According to Ron Miller, director of operations of pasd at a recent board meeting, "we don't keep track of how much we spend on the library for upkeep and utilities."

Their estimate is 100k. You know it's higher. Why are we such suckers that they continue to soak us and nobody even knows how much or keeps track?

When will a forensic audit be done? It's only 50K. Not sure who pays? Surely not the library foundation.

Karen said...


Anonymous 3:03 p.m., I believe you may have shared the correct version.

Thank you, for that.

I'm still hoping to have time to dig into my papers and find the copies of the documents I was given.

Please help me out if you have any reference material available.

Thanks, again!

Anonymous said...

There was an agreement made at the time of construction that the School District would be required to provide 10% of the cost of the building every year for maintenance. I believe that would be approximately $7,000 per year that the School District is actually required to contribute to the library. After inflation, it goes up to around $75,000. Either figure, though, is significantly less than the current amount the library gets from the PASD, around a half million per year.
The library people would have you believe that they will lose their funding if they don't add on to the current structure. Actually, the School District is only obligated by the terms of the contract with Carnegie to contribute a very small amount to them. The rest is voluntary.

Anonymous said...

So if the school didn't pay, would the borough be another million in the hole every year?

Anonymous said...

No one is legally obligated to fund the library beyond the small amount required by the agreement with Carnegie made at the time of construction. The library people distort this fact by saying they will lose their funding if they move. In fact, they could lose almost all their funding right now, if the School District would decide to only provide them with the amount that is contractually required. They are using this untruth to further their case for staying in the same location.

Karen said...

Ooops! Sorry, Ed!

I had every intention of responding to your post, but forgot!

The entire plan should never have ever made it to this point.

Frankly, I believe there may be some library board members who think the same as I do because there are many good people on the board whom I know probably cannot believe this is the best plan for Phoenixville.

Even after a spade hits the dirt plans can change.

I further believe this one will.

Anonymous said...

Acoording to the SB meeting ( josh gould) tonight,The LIEbrary operates at 68 hours a week and is only required to be open for 45.They could lose a total of $98,000 of state funding this year.Josh said they might have to cut out Sunday hours all together.
If that is the case :Why close Second Ave for a 45 hour a week operation.The street will be closed for 168 and inconvenience everyone.Whoever called these people Dopes I have to agree.

Anonymous said...

If my math serves me right.
Street closed 6390 hrs. a year.
Liebrary open 2340 hrs. a year.
Street closed two thirds of the year.CLOSE ENOUGH.
Liebrary open one third.REDICULOUS.