Site chosen for potential new Fox River Valley library

The Fox River Valley Public Library District has chosen the site for a potential new library on the west side of the river.

The library board recently approved a measure authorizing the purchase of a $1.7 million property in West Dundee. The 11-acre lot is located directly across Recreation Drive from the current Randall Oaks Branch Library, a 5,000-square-foot space within the Randall Oaks Recreation Center.

"Securing the site is a fiscally sound, judicious decision that will serve taxpayers well for many years to come," said board President Marge Skold. "It considers the long-range needs of our residents and the large population on the west side of our district that does not have convenient access to a full service library."

A public hearing about the purchase is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 21 at the Dundee Library, 555 Barrington Ave., East Dundee. Officials aren't expected to close on the property until January 2017.

Officials have spent months searching for and evaluating sites suitable for a new 75,000-square-foot library, Director Roxane Bennett said. They also considered buying vacant buildings, though Bennett said the cost of converting an existing commercial space into a public library wouldn't necessarily save the district money.

"We've looked at them all, but our board thinks this is the best choice," she said. "And it's in a place that is centrally located and easily accessible to everyone."

An assessment completed last year determined the need for more space, resources, meeting rooms, study spaces and technology at both library facilities. Since then, the library district has been seeking resident feedback about future development through various "Designing Our Future" initiatives, including public forums and surveys.

Planners have now finished conceptual designs for a new library, as well as the renovation of the Dundee Library, and have sent the preliminary plans out for pricing.

Hoping to continue including the public in future discussions, Bennett said officials are forming a citizens' task force comprising 20 to 40 residents who represent all towns and demographics across the library district. They will analyze the planning process, the designs, costs and financing options, she said.

The task force will meet from the end of April through June, at which point members will make a recommendation to the library board about how to move forward, Bennett said. All meetings will be open to the public.

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