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To Re-Zone or Not to Re-Zone?

A lot has happened since we last spoke about the re-zoning proposal that could affect any future library expansion plans, not to mention other undesired outcomes. So, let's play catch up.

First off, the petition is getting a lot of signatures, and that's fantastic. BUT let's not forget that the City Council hasn't made a decision yet, though the Planning Commission has. We are hoping to have as many people as possible show up at the June 23rd meeting (more details here) to let their voices be heard on the matter. Presenting the signatures will simply help them see we're not just a few concerned citizens; we have numbers.

On that note, if you'd like to attend the meeting, or send a letter to your Alderman or Alderwoman, be sure and make all the reasons known for why you oppose it. Saying "I like the library!" won't help anyone's case. There are far more issues with this re-zoning than just the possible library expansion being threatened. For example, traffic and walk-ability could become a nightmare, there's already an Exxon and Dollar General one block away in either direction, it would be an eye sore in the downtown aesthetic, we should promote local businesses that would bring value to the community, etc. You probably have your own reasons. Write them down, send them to the City Council members, make them known.

It is crucial to remember that this whole issue is simply a re-zoning issue; it is not an anti-library issue, not a land owner issue, not really even a Casey's issue. Casey's would probably be more than welcome somewhere on Parkway or a handful of other places in need of what they can bring to the table. But in a downtown community, we simply don't want that area re-zoned. It doesn't fit with the existing plan for the downtown.

Another important thing to keep in mind is how important communication can be. We must try, as best we can, to disseminate correct information. There is a lot of confusion surrounding this issue. Between land owners, city council members, the library, citizens, and other involved parties- the communication hasn't been smooth sailing. Which is no one's fault, but let's not add to it. Let's simply make sure our concerns are heard and hope for the best.

We understand the City Council wants something, anything, done with that property. It's not exactly a looker at the moment, and the more time that passes the more weeds will sprout and broken down the buildings will become. So, to help counter that if we, as a community who loves our books, can raise enough funds to help the library purchase the land in question, they can begin maintaining it and utilizing it even before they begin on their expansion. Voices of the Valley is currently working on setting up a downtown fundraiser to help the library hit their goal, but in the mean time please, please, please- donate what you can here:

On June 23rd the City Council will meet to vote on the next step for this re-zoning. We want to show up en mass to let them know there are more cons than pros to re-zoning for Casey's setting up shop there. Hope to see you there!

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