Library plan may pay off for city

Offer of new site could make space for community center

Posted

Lone Tree’s bursting-at-the-seams library may soon have space to expand, and the city in turn may get a community center.

RidgeGate is offering Douglas County Libraries a site for construction of a 20,000-square-foot building — twice the size of the current building at Lone Tree Parkway and Yosemite Street. The city plans to buy the current library building and convert it into a community center with a satellite library space.

The proposed new library site is a vacant lot between Target and Sprouts that hosted the 2012 and 2013 Taste of Lone Tree.

To get the community’s take on the city’s plan, Lone Tree Mayor Gunning will host a series of public meetings throughout Lone Tree between now and Oct. 3.

Meeting dates and locations include:

• 6 p.m. Sept. 24, Lone Tree Recreation Center, 10249 Ridgegate Circle

• 9 a.m. Sept. 26, Lone Tree Golf Clubhouse, 9808 Sunningdale Blvd.

• 6 p.m. Sept. 26, Heritage Hills Clubhouse, 9201 Heritage Hills Parkway

• 11:30 a.m. Oct. 1, Cornerstone Church, 9941 Lone Tree Parkway

• 6 p.m. Oct. 3, Lone Tree Civic Center, 8527 Lone Tree Parkway

“Eventually, we were going to have a community center,” Gunning said. “Now we can take a building that’s in the heart of Lone Tree and turn it into a community center.

“We would keep that library presence. The rest of the facility we would convert into a community center, with meeting rooms and different functions. But instead of the city determining what the best uses of the building are, we are going out to engage the residents and ask them.”

The small library space ideally would include a reading room and a few periodicals, and allow patrons to return library materials, and pick up items ordered online.

Meanwhile, the larger, full-service library would be available across Lincoln Avenue in RidgeGate.

In May, the library district launched a multi-year capital campaign called “No Leaf Unturned” for construction of new libraries in Lone Tree, Castle Pines and Parker — all communities whose growth has outpaced the libraries’ capacities. Parker and Castle Pines also have stepped up with offers of land for new library buildings.

RidgeGate development manager Darryl Jones said the potential site offers benefits to both library patrons and adjacent retailers.

“We really like that site because it’s more embedded in the RidgeGate community and Lincoln Commons retail district,” he said. “From a long-term use standpoint, we think it makes the most sense. People can park in one spot, shop, go to the library and the arts center. It’s good for the retailers, the residents and the library users.”

Having a site doesn’t accelerate the planned construction of the new library, however, which remains at three to five years. Voters rejected a proposed tax increase for construction of the Parker, Castle Pines and Lone Tree libraries, so the district now is relying on savings.

“We’ve planned out a timeline that allows us to construct all three libraries,” Lone Tree library branch manager Aspen Walker said. “But that relies on us moving through the timeline instead of trying to do them all at once.”