Hello, I am a member of the Clearview Library District Board of Trustees, BUT I DO NOT SPEAK FOR THE BOARD. The views expressed here are my own, and in no way reflect those of my fellow trustees, the Clearview Library District, or its staff.
As news propagates regarding the possible development of a grocery store, targeted in part, on land currently owned by the Clearview Library District, I wanted to share my perspective on this matter and some of the considerations faced as a Trustee of the library district.
The Clearview Library District’s land on Main Street was purchased in 2016, authorized by the Board of Trustees at the time, using reserve funds, and that space was designated as a site for a future regional library. In 2017 and 2018, the Library District put mill levy initiatives on the ballot to finance the construction of a regional library, measures that did not pass in either election. In 2021, as part of the long-range planning initiatives, the Board of Trustees drafted and approved A Plan For the Future Facilities Plan, which specifies the usage of the land:
The district looks to maintain ownership of the property at the intersection of Main Street and Chimney Park Drive. While there are no immediate plans for this property, it may benefit future collaborations for potential shared facilities or a cultural campus.clearview library district facilities plan, page 26
Given that the library district has previously pursued a library on this property, along with the designation in the Facilities Plan, library law restricts the Board’s ability to list, market, negotiate and sell that property to private entities (such as a commercial grocer) without altering the facilities plan and classifying that property as “Surplus”. Such a designation presents additional caveats and essentially becomes a disavowment of the property for strategic considerations. My understanding is that once it is designated “Surplus”, it is extremely challenging to reverse that classification for potential future use by the library district.
Earlier this summer, at the behest of the Town of Windsor, members of the Board met with a realtor associated with the grocer looking to build on that section of town that includes the library’s land. We attended those discussions in good faith, and with an open mind, explored options regarding a possible sale of this property. It was at that point that we were advised by the library district’s attorney regarding the library laws summarized above and the challenges that arise when considering non-solicited offers for strategic library property.
Speaking only for myself, I firmly believe that planning for a future regional library is essential in serving the needs of our communities. I respect the work of past boards in studying different possible locations and selecting the best option at the time. To preserve the goals outlined in our long-range plan, the library district requires a plot of land on or near a major artery road, in a location near the heart of the library district’s population. Any sale of the library land should enable the continuation of those goals.
Additionally, the purchase price of the property may be utilized for the necessary reserve balances needed to obtain the Certificates of Participation that could fund the Severance branch.Clearview Library District FAcilities PLan, Page 26
Those that believe a regional library is not in the best interests of our communities must still acknowledge the value of the property as a library district asset, appreciating at a greater rate than the investment options available through library law. As a Trustee, I have a fiduciary obligation to the library district, and as such, take the stewardship of this asset seriously. When considering the land from a fiduciary perspective, I am looking at the land not at today’s value, but at the potential appreciation at a time when its sale would be needed to cover the operating costs of the district.
The need for another grocer in Windsor is not lost on me. As a King Soopers customer, I am all too familiar with the crowded conditions in Windsor and empathize with my fellow east-side residents in having a store closer to our homes. However, my role as a Trustee is to do what is best for the library district first; as well as creatively collaborate to find a solution that is best for Windsor and the other communities in the library district.
Given the friction involved with reclassifying the land and the inability to reverse it, a compelling opportunity that addresses my expressed considerations and concerns is required for my support to modify the Facilities Plan.
It is also important that we as a community engage in conversation over this matter, with opportunities for input in this important dialogue. I welcome your feedback and suggestions and can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org