by SEAN KIMMONS
City of Kyle council members unanimously approved setting a cap of $3.2 million in constructing a new library amid slight contention regarding whether or not the proposed 20,000-square-foot project would meet Kyle’s future needs.
A few council members stressed concern that Kyle’s growing population could overwhelm the proposed library’s size.
“I’d like to know what would be appropriate for this city,” Council member Lucy Johnson said at the city council meeting Tuesday night.
In 2008, Kyle had a population of about 26,000 people. That number looks to almost double to more than 50,700 by 2013, according to the city’s Web site.
In comparison, San Marcos in 2008 had a population of about 52,900 and a library size of about 27,000 square feet. In the same year, Georgetown had almost 49,600 people and about 49,500 square feet in library space. To the south, New Braunfels had almost 53,500 people with about 26,700 square feet in library space.
So, is a 20,000-square-foot library adequate for Kyle’s future growth? Well, most city officials think so.
“I’m confident that we’ll build the right project,” said Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis.
Former Kyle library director Bill Mears came up with the 20,000 square foot figure as a placeholder for the new library, Mattis said.
“We’ve been using that as our mark,” he said.
Council member Michelle Lopez then defended the figure: “It wasn’t just a number that was created out of the air. I firmly believe that we’re on the right track.”
Mattis added that he could make the library as large as the council wanted it to be.
“We can build it as big as you want to pay for it,” he said.
The library project was originally funded for $3.5 million, leaving some to assume that funding had been cut. However, the city agreed in July to pay about $312,000 for a 2.2-acre lot owned by the Sledge family for the library’s future site in the old town district.
The original $3.5 million included the cost of land acquisition, Mattis said.
Mayor Mike Gonzalez advised that there wouldn’t be space for a larger library on the Sledge site.
“If we make it bigger we won’t have enough parking,” he said.
Council member David Salazar reasoned that the new project would quadruple the space of the current library that sits at 4,900 square feet.
“We’re looking at a significant increase from what we have now,” he said.
Then, Council member David Wilson attempted to squash the contention by adding his two cents: “My concern is that we’re not going to have a library if we keep fiddling with this.”
Sean Kimmons is senior reporter at the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published.Email | Print