City lawmakers from southwest Louisville are praising Mayor Greg Fischer's decision to fund construction of the Southwest Regional Library in his latest city budget proposal.
The $9.5 million bond for the library is the largest expenditure in the mayor's capital budget and the only proposed bond. It follow's up a $500,000 allocation the mayor made last year to begin the design phase of the long-planned project.
The library foundation will also give the city $3.5 million for the facility.
“Some other mayors that weren't quite as committed to what's going on in the Southwest may have made the decision to cut this for this year, push it off to next year, put it off a couple years,” says Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-25, after noting that Fischer has long talked about a need to cut city spending and bring expenditures in line with revenues. “I think it's a bold move for the mayor and it's one the residents in Southwest Louisville certainly appreciate.”
The bond will take 20 years to pay off, but with the city currently renting space, Blackwell says it makes sense to bond the project.
“That's about $200,000 a year that we pay out now for the rental space at the Southwest Library,” he says. “So as soon as we can get the library built and get out of the rental space, that's a structural savings there.”
Shortly after Fischer introduced the budget, Councilman David Yates, D-25, issued the following statement:
“This is a great day for the district and everyone in Southwest Jefferson County. We will long remember the day when the new branch opens its doors on Dixie Highway and changes the lives of children and adults in our area. I applaud the Mayor and the Board of the Library Foundation for raising the funds needed. The mayor has been a strong partner in helping get this done.
I know since 2007, the Metro Council has made building new libraries a priority for our entire city. We have seen new branches at Newburg and Fairdale. There is a newly renovated Shawnee Library. As we move forward with the Southwest Regional Branch, I stand committed to ensure future library projects are built. It is an investment we cannot afford to miss out on.”
No dates have been set to begin or finish work on the building, which will be in the Valley Station neighborhood.