Appleton library project clears another hurdle to move forward

Published: Apr. 17, 2018 at 9:34 PM CDT
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The effort to build a new public library in Appleton clears another hurdle with the city's Library Board voting in favor of a mixed use design concept proposal.

Construction would take place on the current site of the Soldier's Square Parking Ramp.

The new Appleton Library building would include apartments and retail space.

The project has an estimated price tag of $30 million, even though it's still up to the city council to sign off on any spending.

"The council is not going to allow something to be built there for the next 40 years and not have it right," Alderman Joe Martin said.

Martin said he expects concerns about the site, mostly over inadequate parking, to be resolved.

He added, "I think we're at a process we need to be at. We need to see if we can fit there, and I think a lot of people forget we're working with a diagram as far as the boundaries go. It's quite a large spot."

A number of people spoke out before the library board Tuesday night, all expressing support.

This includes former Appleton Area School Superintendent Lee Allinger.

"The new library will allow us to have the space design and technology capacities to serve as a hub for learning and literacy to meet the current and growing needs of our community," said Allinger.

The developer says the design plan will be crafted over the next two to three months. During that time community engagement sessions will determine specific needs.

Appleton Library Board President Pat Exarhos said, "I think it's great there's been so much interest, and we've gotten a lot of feedback. A lot of it's been positive. We've also heard some people that have had concerns and we appreciate hearing that feedback."

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