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New Ellsworth library to be sited in or near downtown

Although the data pointed in one direction, the sentiment from the building committee for a new Ellsworth Public Library is to have the facility located in the downtown area. This sentiment was expressed during a presentation on potential new library sites to the Ellsworth Village Board Monday.

Matthew Kruntorad of the architectural firm MS&R in Minneapolis said in his presentation to a large audience that, in ranking such factors as cost potential, location, accessibility, design, etc., all such data pointed toward building the new library in the Crossing Meadows development off Hwy. 65 on the northwest side of the village.

However, because of the slow pace of development in Crossing Meadows and the desire to have the library in the downtown or “hub” of the village, the three most likely places for the new facility to be located will either be at Summit Park, inside the BMO Harris bank building or have the existing facility and the block area around it renovated and reconstructed for a new facility.

“We hope to have the library be an anchor to draw people to downtown Ellsworth,” one member of the audience put it.

Trying to build a new library where the current one sits would satisfy the downtown requirement, but be very costly, as the whole block would need to be reconfigured for additional parking and space requirements. Current properties would have to be bought out by the village and the real estate market value of doing so could run up to near $400,000. Using the bank building and the parking close by would not require such up front costs, but its current design as a two-story building complicates and limits the space needs and designs for the new library.

Building the new library at Summit Park, according to Krutorad, has the advantage of building from scratch a one-story facility on the kind of unused land found in Crossing Meadows and still be close to the downtown area and also East End, as well as it would be in the Midway district.