MARSHALL - A special meeting of the Marshall City Council drew a large crowd Tuesday night, as council members heard proposals for the former Marshall-Lyon County Library building downtown. Council members said the choice between selling the property to the Lyon County Historical Society or Marshall Public Schools wouldn't be easy and voted to address the topic later this month to allow more time for discussion.
Around 50 people, mostly members of the public, attended Tuesday's meeting.
Representatives of the historical society and the school district spoke about their proposals for the vacant library building at the corner of 3rd Street and West Lyon Street. Neal Ingebrigtson, president of the historical society, said the group was proposing to buy the building for $1, or alternatively for $25,000. Ingebrigtson said the society wanted to be fair to the city in buying the building, but "We only have a certain amount of money, and we can't get into a bidding war."
Photo by Deb Gau
Neal Ingebrigtson, president of the Lyon County Historical Society, makes a proposal to the Marshall City Council Tuesday for the former Marshall Library building.
Moving the museum into the former library building would allow more space for attractive museum exhibits, as well as for community or interactive space, Ingebrigtson said.
Ingebrigtson said the historical society estimates utility and upkeep costs for the library building would be comparable to the rent for the museum's current location. There would likely be some additional costs to update the building's lighting and fire protection systems, he said.
The location would also be fitting, he said, because the historical society's first-ever display of artifacts was in the basement level of the library.
"We'd like to come home, but this time to the entire building," Ingebrigtson said.
Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Klint Willert said the school district proposed to buy the former library for $100,000, to use as an alternative learning campus. The district's alternative school, Marshall East Campus Learning Alternatives, is currently located in space at Market Street Mall.
Willert said the space in the library building and the parking outside would be enough to meet the needs of staff and students. The school district could also reduce a $150,000 levy for MECLA's lease money. Most importantly, he said, the school could continue to provide students with opportunities to graduate high school, make connections and build job skills and experience.
The school district would also have to make renovations to the library, adding a new sprinkler system and updating the heating and cooling systems. Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said the updates for the building's water hookup could possibly be tied in with planned utility and street improvements.
In response to criticism from the public about possible locations for the alternative school, Willert said the former East Side Elementary School didn't work for the district's vision of an alternative school. Council member Charlie Sanow added that the school district hadn't passed up free real estate in selling the East Side building.
"It was not a giveaway," Sanow said of the sale. Costs and upkeep for the property were more than the MECLA lease levy, he said.
Council members said they wanted more time to discuss the proposals and to get input from Lyon County, because of its involvement with the library.
"There's a lot of information here that needs to be digested by us, and by the county," said council member Larry Doom.
Council members voted unanimously to put discussion of the proposals on their April 24 meeting agenda.
The council also allowed time for members of the public to comment on the issue. There were some comments that the county museum would fit into Marshall's downtown better or be more of an attraction. However, local residents said they didn't want the choice to be win/lose for either the museum or the alternative school.
"I would like to challenge the city to find a home for both," said Marshall School Board Chairman Jeff Chapman.