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Land swap for library in Draper?

New site could take pressure off busy Sandy branch

DRAPER — The Salt Lake County Library Board has agreed to a land swap that could lead to a new library in Draper at 12400 S. 1100 East.

At its February meeting, the board agreed to make a recommendation to the Salt Lake County mayor that the library system's 3 acres at 300 East and 12100 South be traded for the 3 acres owned by Draper city on 12400 South.

Draper's current library is located in the 80-year-old former Draper Elementary School, also the Draper city offices, at 12441 S. 900 East. The library's current size is about 4,000 square feet, but the library board is considering an 18,500-square-foot library, more than four times the current size.

Although the 3-acre plot on 12400 South isn't enough land by itself for a new library — some 5 acres are ideal — Draper City Manager Jim Smith said the city is working on a deal whereby an adjacent 2 acres could be donated to the library system.

He said the library would be the anchor, even the jewel, of a new town center in Draper. He envisions it as being similar to Center Street in Provo. It would be part of the Draper Conservation area, a preservation of a historic district.

"The whole area is the focus of a revitalization," Smith said, explaining the city has great support for this plan.

The prospective library land currently has an agricultural designation and would be located across the street from a future Utah Transit Authority light-rail station. It also connects to a nearby park, and the library could also share parking with the park.

Library board chairman Jim Cooper said the key question is whether the site is a suitable new library location because the board had initially favored a site further south.

The board felt the new site might still be close enough to the Sandy Library to take some pressure off that branch, the system's busiest branch.

"This is a remarkable plan," library board member Ken Verdoia said. "Draper people have been very patient."

Lohra Miller, another board member, had only one concern — possible traffic congestion in the area, especially problems making left-hand turns out of the library.

Smith said while the area could be busy, 12400 South will not be the area's main street; 12300 South will be.

The library board stressed it does not have the budget to purchase the two other areas of land. Draper city will have to come up with that land on its own.