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Kevin Eipperle explains the various theoretical floor plans for different library locations, gesturing to Site 7, the top-voted site of the meeting.

This story was corrected to note that the most popular library location and design voted on at the FEH community task force meeting was Lot 1 of 1 Otting Place and is owned by the City of Cascade.

The third public Advisory Task Force meeting was held at the Cascade Public Library last week to continue setting potential plans for the construction of a new library building in Cascade.

Having accumulated data on possible sites and criteria from public opinion in past meetings, this meeting consisted of multiple floor plans drawn up showing possible configurations in the most viable lots from an initial number of 30.

Kevin Eipperle, an architect with FEH Design, explained the ideas, pros and cons behind each possible plan, as well as explaining the estimated budget that accompanied the most likely options.

“These are budgets, not cost estimates,” said Eipperle. “They have everything in them from construction through site work and utilities to every stock cost you could imagine like printing bidding documents, hiring an inspector, fundraising, furniture, new technology and lots of other things.

“We also included a higher contingency percentage than we’ve ever included because the cost of construction is assumed to be higher than it’s ever been and we continue to get cost increase notices from manufacturers. These numbers are based on a bid in 2023 with some inflation built into it as well.”

At the end of the meeting, after each plot was explained and discussed, attendees cast votes for their first, second and third choices. Importantly, the final vote count is determined by the number of votes cast to show interest, not accounting for preference order which will be factored into FEH’s data for the final meeting.

The votes affect which sites FEH will focus research on moving forward, but no site is guaranteed, even if it was voted the highest.

Out of an initial 30 plots, five were given a significant enough amount of votes for further study and consideration.

Coming in first place with 32 votes was Lot 1 of 1 Otting Place and is owned by the City of Cascade.

“We all think this would be a great place,” said Eipperle. “The property line does extend beyond the flood wall on the north side. You have the new asphalt trail and the street is back there with an opportunity for you to improve that area.

“We talked about how we might be able to bring some steps down to the river so kayakers or whoever can go down there. There’s visibility from the parking lot and a lot of visibility from the bridge and some really nice views.”

In a close second place with 27 votes was Site 6 at 110, 106 and 102 2nd Ave SW. The total size of all three lots is 0.57 acres and the budget is estimated at $3,420,000. The properties are currently owned by Arlene Eisermann, Bruce Greenwood and Mary Schmidt.

“This is a site where the city just built a new parking lot,” said Eipperle. “There are two houses here and the city still owns about 42.5 feet of width. Our thought was to just add another lane of parking to accommodate our 10-12 parking spaces. The building would sit in a spot where it could be expanded in the future 50 years down the line, but also creates some green space. It’s close to the river, park and amphitheater.”

With a significant drop in popularity from the first two with 13 votes, third place went to Site 30 at 112 Buchannan St SW, and 107 and 111 Lincoln St SW at the old funeral home site. The total size of lots together is 0.38 acres and the budget was estimated at $3,550,000. The properties are currently owned by Geoffery Zoller and Amber Lopez.

“There was a lot of support for this one,” said Eipperle. “There’s room for expansion and plenty of room for outdoor program space, and a lot of people feel it would clean up a blighted area.”

In fourth place with nine votes was Site 18 at 2nd Ave NE next to the city pool. The plot size is 0.78 acres and the estimated budget was $3,142,000. The property is currently owned by American Legion Post 528.

“We thought this made a lot of sense because it’s right next to the pool and park,” said Eipperle, “so there’s a lot of stuff going on there. You could share parking since there’s parking right along the street for the pool and you could extend that by about 15 spaces. That site’s pretty big.”

In fifth place with a mere five votes was Site 3 at 708 1st Ave E behind Dr. Bradley’s dental office. The plot size is 0.53 acres and the estimated budget is $3,130,000. The property is currently owned by Candace Bradley.

“The concept here was that 1st Ave was a bit tricky to get in and out of as a drive,” said Eipperle, “so we sketched it with 2nd Ave as the main access point. We pushed the building to the front so it has a similar setback as the other buildings here. It meets a lot of our criteria and scored fairly well.”

All members of the public interested in giving input may attend the fourth and final public task force meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.