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Published December 13, 2010, 09:00 PM

Most Surveyed Want New Library at Old Leevers Site

70 percent of people surveyed say they do want a new public library in Grand Forks, and that they want it located at the old Leevers site on South Washington street.

70 percent of people surveyed say they do want a new public library in Grand Forks, and that they want it located at the old Leevers site on South Washington street.

DMD Consulting interviewed 580 people out of all 7 wards in Grand Forks.

70 percent said they think a new library is needed. 73 percent said they want that new library at the old Leevers site. The results of the survey were presented to the Grand Forks City Council Monday night.

"I was overwhelmed. I was hoping that there could be a clear-cut choice and that the public could help us to guide to the special election. I don't think any of us ever guessed that it would have been that definitive," said Susan Mickleson, Library Board President.

The City Council asked the library board to come up with a comparison between three possible options for a new library: the old Leevers site, near the proposed south-end Wellness Center, or just renovating and adding an addition to the current library building on library Circle.

"The citizens never had a chance to giver their opinion or vote in the survey, and in the telephone survey, of the option of renovation of the old building with a new addition," City Council President Hal Gershman said.

The City Council will receive those comparisons by January 21st. Survey results were mixed on how to pay for a new library. People surveyed were split on whether to pay for the library with a one percent or half percent sales tax increase.

The board has pushed for a public vote on the tax increase by April 12th to coincide with National Library Week. Some council members said at their work session last week that April is too soon. Gershman says the council needs all the information it can get before a vote.

"We wanted more information and we are the one who decides what goes on the ballot. We're going to do the ballot language, we're the ones who are going to authorize it and we're responding to what citizens have said to us," Gershman said.

The Council will get the comparisons of the three sites in January.

They would like to have the wording on a public vote ballot done by the end of January and still try for a special election on April 19th.

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