Library District makes move for possible library in CB South

First step is obtaining the property…

By Mark Reaman

The Gunnison County Library District took a major step last week that could ultimately result in a new library facility being located in Crested Butte South. The district entered into a “Letter of Intent and Terms” on November 16 to potentially purchase property in Block 6 of CB South. That is the corner lot across from Tully’s in the CBS commercial district.

In a press release from the district, it was emphasized that the district’s vision will “drastically improve the availability of high-quality public library experiences that are close to where people live.” The intent is for the Library District to continue “to provide services at all existing libraries while also delivering a unique, modern experience in Crested Butte South. ”

“We see the North Valley and Crested Butte South in particular growing consistently, especially with families,” said Library District executive director Drew Brookhart. “An opportunity came up to consider this piece of property for a future library and we are excited to pursue the idea. It is directly in line with the board’s strategic priorities.”

The one-acre parcel would be separated from a larger six-acre commercial lot owned by Adagio Properties LLC. Brookhart said he is engaging the services of an architect to verify the site’s ability to accommodate a library. 

The district is also conducting an appraisal to determine fair market value for the parcel. The ultimate scope of the library project is not yet determined.

According to Brookhart, the cost of the land will be met with existing Library District funds. He said those funds have been stockpiled through careful financial management over the last 15 years, through the support of Gunnison County for public library services, and through the generosity of donors including long-time Gunnison rancher Ray VanTuyl who contributed one million dollars to the new library completed last year.

“The library district will engage in a public input process to determine what the community wants from a new library experience in the North Valley,” said Brookhart. “That input will become an architectural plan. The process will take time, but it will be a great opportunity for people to actualize amazing opportunities through the library district.”

While there is no official timeline for when a facility might be constructed, the district has until early summer to perform due diligence and make a solid commitment to the purchase. There is no plan for the Crested Butte library to move from the current Old Rock Library to CB South and have just one North Valley facility. 

“The Old Rock Library is a gem and people love having a community library in Crested Butte, and so does the library board,” said Brookhart. “The library district plans to continue providing library services under the terms of a 20-year lease agreement with the Town of Crested Butte. The lease automatically renews in five-year increments in perpetuity after the first 20 years.”  That lease agreement was signed in 2020.

For its part, the town has preliminarily considered working with the library district through the town Facilities Plan to possibly relocate the library to the Four-Way intersection at Sixth and Elk sometime in the future, but how, when or exactly where has not been discussed in any detail.

In the press release, Brookhart promised a public participation process if the property purchase comes to fruition. “After closing, the library district will engage the public in a planning and design effort. The result will be a new public library experience for the whole valley,” he said. “The Library District is grateful to Adagio Properties LLC for their willingness to collaborate. Their shared vision for bringing an important civic anchor to Crested Butte South honors our community’s past, present, and future.” 

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