Winfield library improvements can wait for better economy

Last April, Winfield Public Library officials asked voters to approve a referendum that would allow them to borrow $1.8 million to improve the facility's handicapped accessibility and ease crowding.

Voters said no and we agreed - urging the library to seek out other funding or wait until the economy had approved.

Nearly 10 months have passed, and library officials are returning to voters with the same request on Feb. 2. The April tally was close and those advocating approval hope an information campaign will bring enough votes their way to pass the referendum this time.

While residents with mobility issues can use the library now, it is a challenge. The entrance is on the second floor of the library, yet there is no elevator. Anyone navigating between floors in a wheelchair - or with a walker, cane or crutches - must exit the building and use a steep ramp. This is a burden on patrons with disabilities, as well as less-mobile seniors and even parents pushing strollers.

If the referendum is approved, the entrance would be moved, an elevator added and the bathrooms would be easier to navigate as well. The extra funds would also be used to build an addition to add quiet rooms and alleviate crowding.

Under the proposal, the owner of a $300,000 home would pay $38 more per year to the library.

Making a public building more accessible to the handicapped is a worthy goal, one that should be pursued down the road. However, this is still not the time to ask taxpayers for more money. For that reason, we recommend a vote of "no."