Library Lot Advisory Committee Update

The organizational meeting of the Library Lot advisory committee (more formally the Advisory Committee for RFP #743) met today.  (Details and links here.)  It was well observed and the several citizens and journalists present were allowed to sit in the back of the room.  In addition to the formal committee, Susan Pollay and CM Sandi Smith were present.

Most of what happened was to establish some guidelines for operation of the committee.  CM Stephen Rapundalo more or less volunteered and was elected chair of the committee by consensus.  The staff “project leader,” Matt Kulhanek, passed out summaries of technical review committee comments that noted whether each proposal had filled each requirement of the RFP.

The schedule for future meetings is as follows:

December 18th:  Next committee meeting (9 a.m.-12 noon, place not specified)

January 8: Another committee meeting (9 a.m. – 11 a.m.)

January 18 (week of): Interviews of proposers.  It will not be on Monday (Martin Luther King day).  It was suggested that the interviews should be held at the Library.  They will include a 30 minute presentation by the proposers.

The most interesting discussion of the morning was the delicate stepping around the question of how to separate out some proposals early on.  Jayne Miller suggested that “you might want to leave some on the table”.  Kulhanek mentioned that not all proposals, specifically the open space proposals, filled the “return to the city” requirement.  (Cost proposals are now available on the city RFP website.)  Rapundalo jumped in to say that that element will be critical, especially considering the subject matter of the Council retreat tomorrow.  He began to say that “I can’t imagine anyone on council…” but was interrupted by another member of the committee.

As we all know, the city is in a desperate financial condition.  The challenge for the next couple of months is to determine whether any of the development proposals would actually provide a immediate financial return or whether they would merely absorb city resources (staff, land, money) for a hypothetical future return.  And then – whether that should be the only criterion in determining how this precious piece of public land should be used.

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One Comment on “Library Lot Advisory Committee Update”

  1. Jack Eaton Says:

    Vivienne, thanks for the quick report on this meeting.

    This should get interesting watching the City weigh the “public benefit” of no cost commons against the presumably City-subsidized conference center. Similar private-public partnerships on conference/hotel centers in other cities have turned out to require considerable public subsidization over many years.

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