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Page 12

Times-Villager

www.timesvillager.com • Wed., April 3, 2013

KaKalin

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had another closed session scheduled for Monday to discuss the lease. When asked if the library is moved and the rest of the project doesn’t take off, Stadtmueller said that is a risk his investment group is taking. A market study on retail and office space in Kaukauna was done two years ago as part of the feasibility study of this project before the library was even under consideration, and they found almost no space equivalent to this in terms of services in the building and the character of the space that would be occupied. Stadtmueller said there is average demand but very little supply for space like this. “What we really need is a good place to put people,” he said. Wieczorek thinks the monthly average of 12,000 people a month coming through the library will be enticing for potential tenants, and that number should increase if the library becomes more comfortable. Library Board President Mary Jo Kilgas wanted to emphasize that moving the library is not a done deal. “Until the city council says it looks good, the library board sits and we wait,” she said. Stadtmueller said the river can enhance the project, and they are

looking at taking advantage of the river to get people to the building. Stadtmueller noted Thilmany started a corporate commitment to the building several years ago, and laid the groundwork for the project. Mayor Gene Rosin ended the program by saying that it was a good meeting and while noting the two portions of the Grand KaKalin project do not hinge on the other, he thinks they will both contribute to the success of the entire project. He said some people think the project has been moving quickly when in reality it’s been several years in the making, mostly behind the scenes. “There’s so many things that entered into this project that we hadn’t even dreamed about originally,” he said. Once the locks are renovated and Little Chute gets their bridge built, there will be easier access to the area. He believes future occupants of the building with cater to the boat traffic and to the people who visit the library. Stadtmueller said the navigational authority is encouraging them to put in docks and tie-ups in the canal. There will also be a linear park along the river on the southern portion of the property. While Rosin believes the easiest thing for Thilmany would have been to just tear the building down,

SEH illustration

This illustration shows the proposed site layout for the southern portion of Grand KaKalin development proposed by Stadtmueller and Associates. The Kaukauna Public Library will be the main tenant of the building. Thilmany Road would be relocated from the southern portion of the property to north of the former Eagle mill near the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

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Stadtmueller and Associates stepped in and were willing to get to the point where they are now. “I give Randy a lot of accolades, and think he’s done a fantastic job of making sure nothing is missed,” Rosin said. “There was no interest in (the Gustman property) until the word got out about the upper mill project.” When it looked like the senior housing project was going to happen, that’s when people became more interested in the rest of the Gustman property. Rosin said since the news of the downtown developments came out, interest has picked up in other property in the city including the industrial park and Commerce Crossing. Floor plan explained Wieczorek said Frank has put a tremendous amount of work into the plan that will be workable not only for 2013 but for many years into the future. He doesn’t know how libraries are going to change in the future but looking back to 1993 he never would imagined the library would look like it does now. “There were no websites, no online shopping, no online banking, no Internet,” he said. “If you were state of the art, you carried a pager.” There are five distinct areas in the floor plan including the entry/lobby, adult non-fiction collection, adult

fiction collection, young adult collection, and children’s area. In addition there is a staff area and young adult activity room that is urgently needed. The noise level inside the library presently increases when students arrive from River View School after 3 p.m., sometimes disturbing other library patrons. Wieczorek said library use has increased over the past 20 years, peaking in 2008 when the economy went downhill. About three-quarters of the population have home computers, so onequarter of the people are using public library computers for Internet access, and to create resumes and apply for jobs. Those people also come to the library to learn how to use nooks and kindles. The library’s use of the electronic book program increased 180 percent from 2011 to 2012. Wieczorek said studies have shown that patrons who use e-books do more reading than people without, and not just e-books but print books. “I’ll make this prediction,” he said. “I think in 20 years time, magazines and newspapers will all be online, but there will always be print books.” Book circulation and door counts have increased over the years and Wieczorek doesn’t see a community

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like Kaukauna not having print books indefinitely. “What this floor plan will do is provide the flexibility and adaptability to change as society and technology changes,” Wieczorek said. All of the shelving stacks will be just four feet tall, making them ADA compliant. New books will be able to be placed on top of the shelves. There will be more room for children to play, but there will be only one welcome/circulation desk. Wieczorek said additional staffing will not be needed even though the size of the floor plan is twice as large as the current library, which is 10,500 sq. ft. He anticipates one person being at the main desk and two others on the library floor with notebook computers to offer assistance to patrons. There will be an outside book drop along the relocated Thilmany Road, an outdoor reading area toward to the west of the building by the bridge, and a fireplace in the library lobby area. The furnishings in the interior of the building will come from the library board and donors. “It’s the community’s library, there will be a place for the community,” Wieczorek said. “This will be a home for the community to gather.” Right now, they don’t have a place for a lot of programming activities the library would like to do. The new library will have plenty of space for those programs. Library Programmer Ashley Thiem-Menning said a lack of space is a big issue in the library, and hinders her ability to run programs. Two of her book collections for older kids are in the story room, and when there is story time, those kids are hindered when attempting to see those books. Last summer when Randy Peterson gave a presentation, it had to be across the street at River View and 253 people didn’t come to the library for a library event. The new library would have plenty of space for programming for both children and adult programs. “This will give us the space so we won’t have to infringe on the rights that everyone has to come into the library and do what they want to do there undisturbed,” she said. She said they worked really hard to have the plan be as functional as it is. Thiem-Menning said every book in the library was checked out at least four times last year.