March 30, 2009 Dear City Council members, I am writing you this letter as a Pensacola resident concerned with a recent

decision in regards to our New Downtown Library. You may or may not be aware that a city selection committee has chosen an out-of-town architect to design our new Library. The prime architectural firm chosen is a local firm, however, they have teamed up with a Birmingham firm to do the design. The local firm, Townes Architects, is a small 3 to 4 person firm, who admittedly will tell you that their strength is not in design - which is why they chose to team up with a 50+ person Birmingham firm. Who do you think will take the majority of the design fee? You could check out the work of the local firm, but they do not have a website. In fact, they have only been in business for 3 years. The other 4 firms considered for the new Library are well established Pensacola firms: The second ranked firm - in business for over 25 years The third ranked firm – in business for over 20 years The fourth ranked firm – in business for over 20 years The fifth ranked firm – in business for over 40 years With the economy suffering as it is today and with unemployment in our area approaching 10%, how could you even consider giving this work to a Birmingham firm? Many of the 4 other firms are already letting some of their staff go. (Maybe they could find employment in Birmingham!) I am asking that you do not accept the committee’s ranking, but instead award the New Library to a local, Pensacola firm. Recently - in fact only two weeks ago - the Escambia County Commissioners were faced with the same challenge. Their selection committee had ranked an out-of-town engineering firm number one - ahead of the local firm. The commissioners recognized two factors: 1) our Pensacola area has the talent and resources to do the work locally and 2) with the economy suffering, we should do whatever it takes to hire local firms. They voted 5 to 0 to go with the number 2 firm – Fabre Engineering, a local Pensacola firm. Fees were not a factor in their decision, although they recognize that typically out-oftown firms charge more than local firms because of travel and communication expenses. Another option for the Pensacola City Council to consider is this one: allow the local firm – Townes Architects – to be the prime architect, but require them to team up with a local design firm. Recently, this occurred in our community with an Escambia County School District project. They selected their number one ranked architectural firm for the new Downtown Elementary School, a $25 million project. They requested that the architectural firm team up with another electrical engineering consulting firm, rather than the one that the architect initially proposed. The architect obliged the School District and teamed up with the preferred firm. If the City Council prefers not to change the number one selected architectural firm, they could require them to team up with a local design firm for this very important Library project. The local architects understand what is appropriate for the design and character of this “Pensacola” project. They know the history, the severe climate restrictions and the “local flavor” that our New Library should have. You don’t have to go too far to see what out-of-town designers have created in our town (the big white Pensacola Civic Center, the Escambia County Courthouse “stacked blocks”, etc.). As the County Commissioners recognize: we have the talent and the resources locally. I urge you to please keep the work in our city “local”. Thank you, Danny Grundhoefer 2020 East Maxwell Street Pensacola, FL 32503

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