Building Project Update - September 2020

Mayor Jake Woodford has announced a plan to move forward with the Appleton Public Library building project.

Recent studies have revealed the library needs space to accommodate large meetings, an increase in flexible infrastructure and more efficient circulation practices.

“For years we’ve known the library building has not been meeting the needs of our community,” said Mayor Woodford. “We need to get this critical project moving, putting what we’ve learned from studies and feedback from the people of Appleton into a responsible and actionable plan.” 

Beginning next year, leaders will create a plan for a library facility enhancement or replacement at its current location. The plan will incorporate results from previous studies, as well as community input.

“More than 10 years of studies and work that have gone into the library project, but 2020 wasn’t something we anticipated,” said Rebecca Kellner, President of the Appleton Public Library Board of Trustees. “In light of the current circumstances, it's important we reconsider our community’s needs balanced with the financial impact to the city," said Kellner. "This process will give us the ability to do so.”

The City of Appleton owns and manages the current library lot. Remaining at this location simplifies, or eliminates, multi-party agreements and site acquisition issues. This will remove key barriers to the project and will likely yield cost savings as well. Additionally, the current site supports stewardship of existing investments in parking and other public infrastructure.

The library project will be at the center of neighborhood revitalization efforts, encouraging other businesses, organizations, and homeowners to move into an area ripe for reactivation. 

“One of the greatest things we learned in our most recent building study was how essential a library could be to a dynamic neighborhood redevelopment process,” said Colleen Rortvedt, Appleton Public Library Director.

In summary, the planning process will use the following principles: 

  • Create opportunities for public input and collaboration at each step of the process.
  • Deliver a cost-effective plan, maximizing taxpayer value while meeting community needs.
  • Treat the library as the focal point in a neighborhood revitalization effort.
  • Steward existing community investments wherever possible; including full or partial reuse of the current building and maximizing use of nearby parking ramps.
  • Ensure the project incorporates accessible parking for those with mobility needs.
  • Design a project that minimizes environmental impact; ideally lowering operating expenses.
  • Use information from previous studies, design work and community input.