Library Plaza Project a Would-Be Boondoggle

Since the mayor’s proposed sales tax increase doesn’t specify the use of the proceeds generated, I am concerned that it will fund the Library Plaza Project, which is currently waiting in the wings. Mayor Schneider stated at the Progressive Democrats meeting on March 21 that this would be the case if there were sufficient funds. The project (a wholly separate issue from funding the library itself) was pushed through in January 2011, lest the RDA monies go to the State (for possible use for our schools), and it passed with much drum beating from businesses that hoped to use this public place commercially – making the unverified claim that the present design provides cover for rapists and pedophiles – and from their supporters on the council, and from the Chamber of Commerce. The $2 million project would emulate the Granada “jardin” on the north side of Anapamu Street, never mind that this would be quite discordant, considering that the library is a Spanish Revival building.

The present plaza is well conceived and, even in its present neglected state and even with the inappropriate hedge in the raised planting beds surrounding the fountain, it is a spot enjoyed by many. If properly planted and maintained it would be charming. If the tax increase is approved, I fear that its wasteful destruction will go forward in the name of “vital infrastructure needs,” or even “art.” This is one reason why the mayor’s tax plan should give us pause.

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