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Library board hears expansion progress
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Library board hears expansion progress

FRE Houses removed

Two homes near Keene Memorial Library are shown being taken down to prepare for the planned expansion of the facility. When the City of Fremont let bids for the project, it stated that anyone wanting to salvage or relocate the homes could coordinate that. It received two bids to take down the houses only.

Members of the Keene Memorial Library advisory board learned about progress on the planned building expansion when the group met recently.

Laura England-Biggs, interim director, said representatives of five architectural firms walked through the library on Nov. 5 to learn more about the expansion project. They submitted proposals for providing the final draft of an architectural design on Nov. 13. Two of the five firms were set to be interviewed.

England-Biggs also said the Fremont Area Community Foundation board heard a library expansion project update via Zoom on Nov. 4.

Ryan Strawhecker of Paul J. Strawhecker, LLC, Inc., a professional fundraiser hired by the Friends of Keene Memorial Library, gave a Power Point presentation and England-Biggs provided other details.

The library is preparing to submit a grant proposal to the organization.

In addition, members learned that houses at 20 W. 10th St. and 1025 N. Park Ave. have been taken down. The area where those homes were located will be used for the library expansion.

The Friends of Keene Memorial Library A Trust group previously bought the properties east of the library and deeded them to the City of Fremont. Board members learned months ago that the houses on these properties would need to be moved or razed to make way for the planned library expansion.

Fremont City Administrator Brian Newton told the Tribune that when the city sought project bids from contractors it noted that anyone wanting to salvage or relocate the homes could coordinate their request with the city.

No one submitted a bid to salvage or relocate the homes. Instead, the city received two bids to take down the buildings only.

After removing asbestos from the homes, the city council awarded a contract in September to S2 Rolloffs for $15,950 to remove the homes, which since has been done. Once homes were removed, basements were slated to be filled in and the two lots turned into temporary parking until the library addition work is started.

The estimated cost of the library expansion is between $10 million and $12 million. It will be funded mostly through private donations and grants.

Fremont voters approved issuing bonds of $2 million for the project in May 2018.

In other business, library board members will review a revised library policy manual and discuss any questions they have in December. Board members previously have examined the revised manual and made suggestions, which were addressed. The manual is being updated.

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Board members also are recommending changes regarding the library in Article 7 of the City of Fremont’s Municipal Code.

Members have been reviewing a draft of the revised Article 7. Currently, Article 7 has outdated information about the library.

Written in 1901, it includes references to a reading room, art gallery and museum.

“We don’t have those so we took that out of the municipal code and we changed the word ‘book’ to ‘materials,’ since the library has more than books now,” England-Biggs said.

The board is recommending these changes go to the Fremont City Council for approval.

“We will take this to the Dec. 29th meeting so we give the council a little time to get used to their role before we present a municipal code change,” England-Biggs said.

Three new council members were elected earlier this month and are slated to take their seats Dec. 8.

England-Biggs also noted that the Friends of Keene Memorial Library has three storage units full of books for the March 2021 fundraising book sale.

“They’re out of room,” she said.

Other donated books will need to go to Dave’s Drive-In Liquor in Fremont, which has been selling them to raise funds for the library, or be stored in the library’s east building until that structure comes down as part of the expansion project. She doesn’t anticipate that coming down before the book sale.

An American Red Cross blood drive on Nov. 14 was a success, England-Biggs said. She said 12 units of blood were gathered. The library has had previous blood drives.

“It’s the first time we weren’t able to hold it inside,” she said.

Instead, the Red Cross bloodmobile was used outside the library building.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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