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Published January 26, 2011, 04:23 PM

Library Building Committee OKs Plan to Build New Library at Existing Site

The Grand Forks Library Building Committee voted on a new plan for the proposed new library. It will allow the library to use its existing building, while the new building is constructed.

The Grand Forks Library Building Committee voted on a new plan for the proposed new library. It will allow the library to use its existing building, while the new building is constructed.

The new plan will place the proposed new Grand Forks library just south of K-Mart and will have parking to the south and directly to the east of the current library. The price tag for the library is expected to be $20.7 million.

"The concern is trying to gauge the appetite of the public support, the amount of dollars the public can support for the sales tax, because that translates into how long we are going to be collecting," said Al Grasser, a Building Committee Member.

This new plan will allow the existing library to stay open while the new library is being built, which committee members say will save taxpayers significantly.

"We don't have to move this current function to a new site, outfit a new site and also move twice," said Building Committee Member Jeff Regimbal.

Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce President Barry Wilfahrt would rather see a 1/2% sales tax increase, instead of a 1% increase. He says a 1% increase may encourage people to shop in Fargo instead of Grand Forks.

"We are currently at 1.75%, so each of these proposed tax increases for the library puts us in a different competitive position relative to Fargo," said Wilfahrt.

Even though shoppers will have to pay more if Grand Forks taxpayers approve a 1% increase, they won't have to pay for it as long as a 1/2% increase.

"There are good arguments that we want a good robust building so we don't have to come back to the public again and ask for more money," said Grasser.

The Building Committee will present their findings to the library board Thursday and to the City Council on Monday.

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