Showing posts with label Library. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Library. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gloucester, VA Public Library Debate Over Leasing's High Costs

Public libraries are a key element in promoting literacy and intellect, building a community and providing free and open access to a vast amount of information the public would otherwise face challenge and expense in obtaining. Gloucestercurrently has two public libraries where the community may access only a small portion of information actually available. The quantity of information contained in public libraries is highly dependent on local community financial investment. Upon glancing at the amount of money Gloucester annually invests in our public libraries, it is evident their importance to the community is realized by our elected leaders. Unfortunately upon a closer look at how the money is actually spent it becomes clearly evident the taxpayers are getting very little return on their investment. In fact, we are throwing away several million dollars to lease library spaces instead of owning them.
This year the Board of Supervisors (BOS) budgeted $996,982 to operate our two public libraries. $577,630 is for salaries and benefits and $253,226 for rent, leaving only $166,126 for library operations. The larger of our two libraries is located in the MainStreet Center and owned by the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust (GMSPT). Rental of this 24,000 square foot library space initially began in 2004 for a period of 10 years, with four five year renewal options for up to a total of 30 years. The BOS renewed the lease for five more years in 2013 which became effective in 2014. This year we will pay the GMSPT approximately $190,000 in lease associated payments to rent the library and among other things, to pay 23% of the property tax charged on the entire Main Street Center. Our second library, located in the York River Crossing Shopping Center, is rented to Gloucester under a similar lease agreement. This year the People will pay approximately $63,000 in lease associated payments for this 3,916 square ft. library space.
Should Gloucester continue leasing the Main Street library for the full 30 years, the taxpayers will have paid the GMSPT close to $6 million in rent. A new 24,000 square foot library constructed at $2.50 per square ft. would cost the taxpayers approximately $6 million and would convert the annual rent obligation from $190,000, to an annual library capital improvement fund contribution of approximately $50,000; rendering an eventual annual savings of at least $140,000. Similar, but smaller scale results could also be realized by constructing a second library instead of continuing to rent. Over the years Gloucester’s administration and elected leaders have made some deals and decisions that have proven to be contrary to the long term financial interests of the overall community. Just think, if the earlier decision makers had truly acted in the community’s best interest, they would have built a new library and the benefits and savings of such would be enjoyed financially stress free today. Unfortunately, we now appear to be locked into a carefully designed financial cycle that will be very hard to break without a significant cash windfall, as we currently cannot afford to rent and build a new library at the same time. The current BOS has an obligation to address this issue and initiate a process that will result in construction of the larger of two new libraries within the next six years, with construction of a satellite branch beginning not far behind. Hopefully the current BOS becomes the Board that did what was best for the entire Gloucester community; otherwise we will just keep paying more for library rent than for information quantity and quality.
Kenneth E. Hogge, Sr.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Daffodil Festival Artist Contest On Display At The Gloucester Courthouse Library

If you have not yet had a chance to see this years latest entries for the Daffodil Festival art work, it's presently going on at the library in the Courthouse area.  Some really nice entries.  You have to visit the library in order to appreciate these works as the pictures below just do not do them justice.  We post them here to give you a good idea of this years entries however.

You can add your vote for the best piece.  There is also a prize to one lucky winner who enters their vote for their favorite work.

Friday, October 10, 2014

GMSA and GMSPT Have Created GRLF Revolving Loan Fund, Watch Your Investment Disappear?

The folks who run the Gloucester Main Street Association and the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust have developed a new way to get at potential business investors money.  It's called the GLFR, or Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund.  All hail BAAL for that.  These folks want you to invest in the dead area of Gloucester Main street.  A place with minimal parking at best, where the sidewalks barely meet residential standards, never mind commercial standards and there are areas considered potentially dangerous to pedestrians as the slopes on the sidewalks do not meet specs based on our research.  

  This is an area that has a lot of new business turnover as most people can not make a go of it here.  One must ask why.  Simple, no parking and no chance of ever attracting an anchor business.  An anchor business is pretty much a large retailer that has the capability of attracting large amounts of traffic into it's store and all the other stores in the area will hopefully benefit from the extra traffic in the area by offering complimentary goods and or services not carried by the anchor store.

  Not to take anything away from the well established businesses on Main Street, there are some wonderful shops there if you do not mind the lack of parking and poor pedestrian walkways throughout the area.  But look at what has been built in the area over the past decade and you will see that the only thing that might prove viable is senior service providers and if the population does go up with seniors, then maybe one candy store can make it in this environment.  I would not bank on anything else.  

  What also tickles our funny bone about the statements coming out of the Main Street Preservation Trust is their commitment to preserving main street.  Take a look at the present structures around the area and explain to us where preservation exists.  Look at the rents for the area and they are way to high for such poor traffic.  Most of the businesses that went out of business all complained of no customers or not enough customers to support the business.  

  So you want to go broke trying to make money on Main Street?  There are much better options and at better prices in other areas of the county where you are more likely to get traffic into your business.  If you listen to the hype these folks want to sell you, it all sounds rosy.  Your best bet is to walk the entire Main street area for one day and talk to present business owners and actually pay attention to everything you see.  You may save yourself a fortune and much heart ache.  Just be careful around these folks who want to give you such nice loans, they can sell ice to an Eskimo and water to fish.  And they can make everything very easy and handle all the paper work for you.  Just don't miss any payments even after you have gone belly up and have nothing left.  Isn't that just great news?

Link to all the wonderful news.  All hail BAAL!  And you even get to bow before the great BAAL when entering their office at their wonderful BAAL shopping center on Main Street.  Where our public library is as well.  That's just so special how they thought of all these wonderful ideas ahead of time.  Just remember, anyone after your money is going to be very helpful and offer more than you ever expected, that is until all your money is gone.  Then you get to see they are not sheep.  And you thought they were as gentle as lambs?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gloucester, VA Courthouse Library, Proposed Changes To Save Money

In an effort to help save money in the county, a few concerned citizens sat down and started looking at areas where there may be savings to be had by the county by consolidating services.  One of the first areas recognized by the small citizens groups was the Gloucester County Courthouse Library location.  

  The question that came up is why are we paying rent in this space at this time?  We now have the TC Walker school up and running with a tremendous amount of space wide open for use by the county.  Why not move the Courthouse Library branch to the new TC Walker school administration building?  Can anyone think of a better location?  The mix would seem perfect.  Since the taxpayers are already paying for all the extra unused space at the newly remodeled TC Walker school, why not move the library into that unused space?  The savings would be tremendous.  

  Isn't it time to start thinking smarter, consolidating resources, increasing services while decreasing expenses, expanding knowledge in a creative center and stop the divisions of the people and our resources?  With county services now moving more and more to the TC Walker area, it just makes sense to stop paying rent on a building the county does not own and utilize the space where taxpayer dollars are already being spent and cut those costs.  There is no reason to maintain the present location of the Courthouse library in the courthouse area any longer.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Daffodil Festival 2014 Artwork Now Available For Public View

On display at the local library up at the Gloucester Courthouse location is the latest art prints submitted for the 2014 Daffodil Festival.  Our personal favorite is right here on top.  But that is just us.  The submissions are incredible and we are not looking to take anything away from any of the other artists by any means.  We highly recommend that if you have the time, make sure you make a trip to the library and view these works of art.

Though we like this print, the Coleman bridge in the background is facing the wrong way causing an issue for the viewer who is aware of it.  Now it is only a representation and a good one, but we can not get over that one issue.  This standing chimney is Powhatan's chimney for those who do not know this already.

 This print is incredible and one of our favorites.  The only issue we have is that the hot air balloons are distracting.  In the picture it looks nice, but close up, we thought it was a little much.  It's a wonderful folk art piece that shows tremendous talent.

This print is a staff favorite.  Only issue seen with this print is that it does not emphasis Daffodils enough.  This is one you need to see in person to appreciate the detail that went into the painting.

Another great piece where the artist showed wonderful talent.  The only issue seen with this one is that it does not emphasis Gloucester.  If it's only about Daffodil's then this one is at the top of this short list.  Part of the objective in our own view is the dual emphasis on both Daffodil's and Gloucester County.

This is a wonderful piece.  It emphasizes both Gloucester County as well as Daffodil's and Gloucester's historical courthouse circle area.  It was well thought out and executed.

Now these are not the only pictures at the library.  These are only a sampling of what is there.  To see the entire collection, please visit the library to view all the artwork.  You will find it well worth your time if you are one who appreciates art.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gloucester VA, Antique Car Show Every Weekend

Every weekend there is an antique car show here in Gloucester. It's in the parking lot where the main Library is on Main Street, across from the DAV thrift shop. Everyone is welcome and there are no fees to see the vehicles. There is only a very small fee to enter in your own antique or classic car into the show. It's a fun time. I will be putting together a slide show very soon of one of these shows so you can get a much better idea of what a great event this is each week. I'll also have more details on the next posting.

  Some really cool antique cars can be found on display here.  Restaurants are located in the plaza here so if you do get hungry, it's a non issue.  Gloucester, VA Links and News.  GVLN Website.
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