Last month, CL's Scott Henry reported on Fulton County at-large Commissioner Robb Pitts' ambition to replace downtown's central library with a new facility near Centennial Park. Today Pitts sent out a mass e-mail titled "Atlantas Opportunity To Have A World Class Central Library."
The e-mail includes photos of architecturally pleasing central libraries in other American cities, but does not mention anything about the cost of replacing the current library with a new one.
According to Scott's report on this last month, a county bond referendum on the November ballot would provide $150 million for the Atlanta-Fulton library system, $40 million of which would be set-aside to renovate the current library.
But an architecturally significant library, like the ones Pitts shared photos of, would cost a lot more than $40 million.
The central library in Denver, included in Pitts' slide show, was paid for with a $92 million dollar bond issue approved in 1990. Seattle's public library, also on the Pitts' list, was paid for with a $196 million bond issue approved by Seattle voters in 1998 (plus $20 million in spare change from Bill Gates).
Call me Gloomy Gus, but there's too much intra-county ill-feeling in Fulton for me to imagine suburban Fulton voters saying yes to an eight-or-nine-digit bond issue to pay for a trophy library in the middle of Atlanta.
The full text of Pitts' e-mail follows . . .
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 13:51:49 -0500
From: Robb Pitts
Subject: Atlantas Opportunity To Have A World Class Central Library
We have entered a new era of technological knowledge and learning, and our central library should reflect that with its architecture. With a proposed new central library, we have the chance to make an historic statement about our commitment to the power of knowledge in Fulton County. Other major U.S. cities have already taken the lead in creating such centers for learning and intellectual activity by creating libraries that serve as centerpieces for their communities. It is now Atlantas time.
Please click here <http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/images/stories/Commissioner%20Pitts/News/Examples%20of%20Current%20Significant%20Library%20Architecture.pdf> to view several examples of distinct library architecture in other large metropolitan cities.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.
Robert L. "Robb" Pitts
Commissioner, District 2-At Large
Fulton County Board of Commissioners
141 Pryor St. Suite 10043
Atlanta, GA 30303
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