Seems like ‘worst location was chosen’ for new Tesson Ferry Library

To the editor:

I am quite disturbed about the decisions of St. Louis County Library officials regarding the new location of the Tesson Ferry Branch Library.

As reported by the Call, it seems there is blatant disregard of how they have chosen to spend taxpayers’ money with the new location.

First, the choice of the library at Musick and Gravois is almost ridiculous — it seems the worst location was chosen. Are the officials sure that this is the best and only location they could find?

The intersection is fraught with danger and potential accidents. Grant’s Farm, Grant’s Trail, Cor Jesu Academy and now the new subdivision present so many problems regarding traffic and access to the library. Can Gravois handle the extra volume of traffic the library will bring? I think not.

Secondly, the cost to make Musick improvements is mind-boggling — $500,000 to $750,000. There is an agreement with McBride Berra, the builder of the new subdivision, to combine with the library to pay $200,000 on top of the Traffic Generation Assessment fees. The library is slated to contribute $186,615 to the traffic fund, a fee determined by the number of parking spaces proposed for the library.

I would say McBride is getting off pretty cheap. Is this a “very productive partnership,” as the article states? I would say productive for McBride; costly and detrimental to the taxpayers.

Then there are the three — yes, three — major improvements to Musick: Widening Musick, cutting down a hill and upgrading the traffic signal. All three are very expensive, especially cutting down a hill. None of these is needed if library officials had been responsible enough to locate the library somewhere where none of this would be necessary. It seems there is no concern about how to spend the tax money available to them. I am sure McBride is happy to share the cost to make the subdivision more accessible.

The new library will cost $20 million. Once again, where is the responsibility to the taxpayer to build a library at such a high cost?

Executive Director Kristen Sorth believes the “new library will be one of the most walkable and accessible of all the county libraries.” I guess at $20 million it should be. And how did she come to this conclusion? Maybe because it is next to Grant’s Trail? That conclusion is almost a joke.

Another problem with the new library is that most of it will be glass. Why is that? Ms. Sorth is concerned about breakage and upkeep. I would guess so. Question is how much will it cost to maintain so much glass, which is unknown. Whatever it is, it will be at the taxpayers’ expense.

I have a suggestion, which is probably too late to consider. Why not do like Kirkwood Library did when they renovated their library? The books were moved to a location on Kirkwood Road, and the Kirkwood Library operated from that location.

Once the renovation was complete, books were moved back, and the Library now operates from the same location. I suggest that Tesson Ferry Library moves its books to the shuttered Crestwood mall; tear down the old library, and build a new library at the present location on Lin Ferry. I don’t think this would be nearly as costly, and Tesson Ferry would still be one of the most used libraries in the system. Did library officials ever think of this?

The library is one of my favorite places to go; therefore, I voted for the tax-rate increase. If I had known the officials were going to have such disregard how they were going to spend the money, I’m not sure I would have voted “yes” for the increase. Is it at all possible for you to look at my suggestion as an alternative? If not, why not?

I just think the location and cost were a shock and surprise for us in south county.