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Publish Date: 3/25/2005

Debate begins over Tri-Towns library sites


DACONO — Mayor Wade Carlson knows that the Tri-Towns’ new library likely won’t be built in Dacono, even if the city’s voters decide to opt into the Weld Library District in November.

But oddly enough, Dacono voters may hold sway over whether the library gets built in Firestone or Frederick, where elected officials are already making their cases to host the building.

A task force for the library district recommended last week that a 38,000-square-foot branch be built in a central location of the Tri-Towns in 2007, replacing a much smaller facility in Frederick.

Dacono is not in the library district, but city officials are considering letting the voters decide if the city should opt in.

Weld Library District director Janine Reid explained at a meeting in Dacono last week that if the city opts into the district, the library will likely be located closer to the city, which could mean in Frederick.

If Dacono remains out of the district, the library could be located farther north, possibly in Firestone.

Carlson admitted it’s an interesting scenario.

“I don’t want Dacono to be in the hot seat of Firestone or Frederick,” he said.

A site-selection committee will likely not pick a site until Dacono residents vote on whether the city should be in the district, most likely in November, said Kelli Johnson, spokeswoman for the Weld Library District.

Meanwhile, Firestone and Frederick officials are already stumping to get the library built in their towns and both have proposed sites for the building.

“Everybody wants the library in their town,” Firestone Mayor Mike Simone said.

The Firestone Board of Trustees wants the library on a newly purchased park site, a 285-acre parcel on the south side of Weld County Road 22 between Weld County roads 13 and 15. Trustees made their case to Reid last week.

Simone pointed out that the site could one day be home to a high school, as well as a park, town hall and other amenities.

“We are just trying to make our case,” Simone said. “But no matter where it goes, it has to be centrally located.”

Simone said his town’s maneuvering last week may have been a response to Frederick Mayor Eric Doering, who has publicly declared that bringing a library to Frederick is one of his goals.

Doering served on the library task force. Now that he knows more about the issue, he said he would understand if the district chose a site not in Frederick.

“I’m willing to work with whatever decision the (library) board makes,” he said.

However, Doering still believes building the library in Frederick is the best option because of the town’s central location.

One of the proposed Frederick sites is on land next to the Johnson Farmhouse, a historic building the town recently tore down because it was gutted by a fire last year. The land is just south of Frederick High School, but Doering said the library site will be closer to Colorado Boulevard than the farmhouse was.

If the issue ends up on the November ballot, Doering hopes Dacono residents will consider the vote to include the city in the district separate from the debate over where to site the library.

“Dacono needs to decide for Dacono whether they are in or out,” he said.

Carlson initially expressed concerns about the Tri-Towns’ library being north of Colo. Highway 52, which he called a barrier for children coming from Dacono.

Dacono has a small municipal library at city hall and Carlson wants to keep the children’s section active when the new library gets built.

Carlson also wondered if it would be worth it for Dacono residents to take on the extra tax for a library that could be several miles away.

However, he also believes that a library in either Frederick or Firestone would still serve Dacono. But it may not be the last to come to the Tri-Towns if the city opts into the district.

“We are looking at a phase one, in my opinion,” he said of district plans. “As the growth goes south in Dacono, there will probably be a smaller library down there.”

Douglas Crowl can be reached at 303-684-5253, or by e-mail at dcrowl@times-call.com.

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