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Council not giving up on library site yet

SOLON– The options are still open.
Members of the Solon City Council are not ready to eliminate the library as a possible location for city hall.
Council members, city staff and Mayor Rick Jedlicka continued to discuss the potential purchase of the Brosh Chapel and Community Center last week during a regular meeting June 1, and will host a public forum at the Brosh site Wednesday, June 8, beginning at 7 p.m. to gather input from residents.
At a May 18 meeting, council members had asked for current construction prices in order to compare the possible purchase against the cost of a new building.
Based on information provided by City Engineer Dave Schechinger, constructing a similar-sized building would cost about $1.2 million, but that would not include the funds for land acquisition, a paved parking lot or finishing the lower level.
According to Mayor Jedlicka, the estimate also did not include pricing for an additional parking lot across Cedar Street from the Brosh facility, landscaping or the added ground to the east, all of which are being considered by the city as part of a package.
The price tag for the Brosh facility is $1.3 million.
The building is being offered to the city by Brosh owner Matt Linn, who indicated he thought the building would be a great fit for the city, providing it with a downtown location. “The community could use that type of facility,” Linn said Friday.
But he doesn’t want people to get the wrong idea. “We’re not leaving,” he noted. “We’re never leaving.”
If the city decides to move ahead with the purchase, he said, a new Brosh facility with the same basic floor plan (minus the lower level) would be constructed on ground Linn said he has secured on the south side of town.
“A funeral home can really be anywhere,” he added, noting he saw the offer as an opportunity for the greater good of the community.
Council members, however, still want to see what the public says at the June 8 community forum.
Council member Cami Rasmussen said she favored the Brosh location, but she qualified her support by noting the city hasn’t looked at firm financing numbers.
“I feel like it will meet our needs farther into the future,” Rasmussen said. “But I’m not completely ruling out the library right now.”
Both council members Brad Kunkel and Mark Krall said they’d like more specifics about what the Solon Public Library might look like in the future before making a decision.
“I’m concerned we’d be having the same conversation 10 years from now,” Kunkel said of merging the library with city offices. If the library were able to add 10,000 square feet but city offices took away at least 3,000 square feet, he said, “is that enough for them to accomplish what they want and be comfortable for a long period of time?”
The city is expected to continue discussions after the June 8 public meeting.