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Bid for Draper library site fails

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A proposal for a new library for Draper city took another step back this week when, without discussion or motion, the City Council refused to condemn two properties to secure land for the project.

Meeting Tuesday night, the council declined to condemn land along 1130 East at about 12400 South.

Now, city leaders will make another attempt at luring the library to one of the other sites, City Manager Jim Smith said. City Council members, Mayor Darrell Smith and city planners will meet with the library board Friday afternoon to try to find a solution.

The most likely alternative location would be in the Draper City Park, adjacent to the land the city considered condemning, and it is land the city already owns. Problems exist with the site, primarily a more difficult access and the presence of a historic home.

"We'll look at moving the library a few hundred feet," Smith said. The library board "wouldn't have the frontage they needed, but there's a plenty of land."

The two property owners, Ed Packer and Sherm Fitzgerald, commended the City Council for not taking their land and said the city never made an offer that was suitable. Both have previously said they would sell if an offer that satisfied them was made.

Packer said that he expects the city to continue to pursue their land, primarily because it is part of the master plan for the historic downtown area.

"There's no doubt we are in the central city, and in the historic core," he said. "They have designs on this street. But they will have to go through us to get anything."

A new Draper library would be built and operated by Salt Lake County, under direction of its library board. Jim Cooper, library director, said the board is still anxious to accommodate Draper with a new library. The current Draper Library at 12441 S. 900 East, is too small and the southeast end of Salt Lake County continues to grow.

The Sandy Library at 10100 S. Petunia Way is one of the system's busiest and a new, expanded library in Draper could take some pressure off that facility.

The county library system secured land for a future library in Draper years ago. However, that property is not considered an ideal location by Draper City and leaders have envisioned selling that land to help finance acquisition of property at a better site.

Cooper said the Draper Library will likely be discussed at the next board meeting Monday.

Contributing: Lynn Arave.

E-MAIL: jloftin@desnews.com