BREAKING: New UP Library Isn’t Just a Dream Anymore

Exterior perspective of the building courtesy of the city of University Park and Good Fulton & Farrell architects

According to a release sent to us from a hardworking University Park community relations officer named Steve Mace, the Plaza at Preston Center and the city of University Park are mere inches away from a letter of agreement that would give the city a permanent space library.

The agreement will call for the city to sell several alleys and city-owned rights of way to the Plaza in exchange for the 15,000-square-foot, second-floor library space. The library’s new home would be located inside a new commercial building inside the plaza. While the space occupied by the library would be owned by the city, the construction and finish-out would be financed by the Plaza.

We broke the news of the talks between the two parties in our May 7 issue. Then mayor James “Blackie” Holmes said the city engaged in talks with the Plaza’s management last fall, and expected a letter of agreement would be developed within the coming months. At that time there wasn’t a move-in date, but Holmes said he hoped the library’s new digs would be ready “sooner rather than later.”

15 thoughts on “BREAKING: New UP Library Isn’t Just a Dream Anymore

  • July 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm
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    Did the release say where in the shopping center the building will be located? I’m guessing they will have to demolish some existing structures to build it.

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  • July 15, 2010 at 8:20 pm
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    Is this the building that Corner Bakery is in? This picture looks like it’s the view from Cafe R&D (or whatever it’s called these days).

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  • July 16, 2010 at 11:06 am
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    That is a pretty big building to jam into the Plaza. Do they have any comment on parking?

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  • July 16, 2010 at 11:55 am
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    corner bakery will be torn down, and matthew trent, American express etc will have to move into temporary spaces.

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  • July 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm
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    A few answers: The building will be at Villanova and Preston Center on the southwest corner. The building at this intersection will be razed. The property owner will build additional parking as a garage below the new building.

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  • July 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm
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    Fantastic news for UP. Congrats to you guys! Maybe I have been out of the loop too long but I wonder how this will affect the arguing going on about Snider Plaza zoning. Didn’t the owner of that building always kinda hold the UP library as a feather in his cap for community good will?

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  • July 17, 2010 at 11:36 am
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    Sounds like a good fit. But will it become an attraction to the local panhandlers at Preston Center? Dallas’ main library has had a pretty big problem with that.

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  • July 17, 2010 at 3:26 pm
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    Why the hell do we need a public library? HPISD schools have them, SMU has several and every single person in UP has, or can afford, an iPad, Kindle, Bookreader, laptop & highspeed internet connection.

    All a library will do is add to the city’s annual operating expenses (and our taxes) and invite trouble from people who DO NOT live, work or pay taxes in UP (e.g. homeless, child predators, undesirables, illegal aliens).

    Andrew Carnegie built 1,689 across the US between 1883 and 1929 when people had NO books to read. What are they now? Repositories for non-digital info, stinky homeless people and a drain on taxpayer dollars.

    Thanks to the Texas Robin Hood law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood_plan), we already pay 4 TIMES the amount needed for every child in Texas (legal or illegal) to learn to read. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that education is not a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution (San Antonio v. Rodriguez). Enough, already!

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  • July 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm
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    Sounds like a pretty good plan. Two ideas that should be looked in to closely are: 1) The longer article in the DMN stated that the alley and street maintenance would be the responsibility of the developer, and if the project ever ran into financial issues, that may be problematic. The City should be given the contract to maintain the streets and alleys once title is transferred which would provide continuity and consistency of infrastructure maintenance, and the right to claim back the rights of way if the development ever goes in to foreclosure.
    2) A specific portion of the tax revenue from the property should be allocated to the library budget (now at $200k or 0.45% of the annual operating budget. This way, some of the direct revenue from the building can pay for the operation.
    T-Bone – you should know that the library has been in operation for several years, and utilization has increased to the point that three full time positions have been added since 2007 Fiscal Year. We have not had a property tax rate increase in CUP in over 14 years, so the argument that the library operations increase our taxes is invalid. The city budgets are online and accessible to all, and although I personally have not needed to use the library, if there were budget cuts needed to balance the budget, there are 99.6% worth of other areas that can also contribute cuts.

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  • July 21, 2010 at 10:14 pm
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    Dave:

    “You should know that the library has been in operation for several years,”

    I do. Thank you for pointing out the obvious…..You’re a genius.

    “and utilization has increased to the point that three full time positions have been added since 2007 Fiscal Year.”

    Utilization? By whom? Quantify it……….Are people REALLY standing in line to check out books at the library? People from OUR city? I don’t believe it.

    “We have not had a property tax rate increase in CUP in over 14 years, so the argument that the library operations increase our taxes is invalid.”

    Property tax RATES have not increased, but property VALUES HAVE (and, by the way, that train has come to a stop). So that means property TAXES HAVE risen. And don’t try and give me the ol’ Obama math here. I used to finance government projects (muni investment banking) so I know all the arguments, twists and turns you may try to argue. It’s the TOTAL revenue, NOT the tax rate. Expenses are expenses, you don’t need to be a CPA to understand that one.

    (But we ALL KNOW the city is just trying to sever ties with Huddleston so he won’t have the council by the short hairs when it comes to the “VERY HEAViLY UTILIZED” library. So they’re willing to spend an unnecessary chunk o’ tax dollars to rid themselves of the Chase bank building issue.)

    Maybe you should establish a foundation for the library, endow it with your own wealth (which I suspect is limited). and keep your greedy, soclalist, democrat hands off the rest of our earned income.

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  • July 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm
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    @T-Bone, while I 100% agree with your RATES vs. VALUES argument….. Here is an anecdotal story on why we need a library:

    My family loves having a local library. During the summer months, the elementary age kids will go through maybe 25-30 books each. Those are books that are perfect for library check-out. SMU library, HPISD libraries are not accessible. Even during the school year, the schools limit the number of books a kid can check out per week.

    Furthermore, a library with reusable books is a great value for our senior citizens.

    And no, Mr. Muni Banker, not all of us can afford an ipad, Kindle, etc… for every one in our family.

    Look a little further than your closeted environment and you will find a great number of people in our little city that value a public library.

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  • July 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm
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    @ T-Bone,

    Why so angry man? All he did was state his point of view, and you call him a greedy socialist for advocating for a Library? And a “genuius” for pointing out something? Chill out.

    My kids all use the library very frequently, and to bdad’s point, the school libraries are not accessible during the summer. I value a public library, as do most people in towns across the country, and world for that matter. I guess there all greedy, democratic, socialists too.

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  • July 23, 2010 at 10:58 am
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    Not angry, just being emphatic……..Somebody has to make the case for government restraint.

    I acknowledge that the HPISD libraries are not open during the summer. Would it not be easier (and cheaper) to staff them during the summer? That seems too easy a solution, no?

    I also acknowledge SMU libraries are not open to the public. Maybe they should be, given 50% of all UPFD ambulance calls are to the SMU campus and, yet, they pay NO compensation to UP (us) for this service. They’re many fewer students on campus in the summer and this, too, seems too easy a solution. SMU could consider it a “community service”.

    Lastly, bdad, while you may choose not to purchase an iPad for every member of your family, you can afford at least one and teach your children to share. If you cant’t, then your lifestyle must be above your means (rent too high, too much mortgage, too many credit cards, a new car too often, and on, and on).

    P.S. I’m no longer a muni banker. I quit because I saw too many financial decisions being made for political reasons, not financial. These dirty deals happen everyday in every city, town, county, state and federal office. And I (and YOU) pay for it. You’re just willing to let me pay for your part……..

    RegardIIng the “senior value” argument, we already provide that value in the form of a verrrrrrry generous senior homestead deduction. That buys a lot of books at Barnes & Noble. I like old people too, but it is not my responsibility to provide for their retirement (even though I do in the form of their social security check). One should educate themselves, work hard, invest often & wisely, live within their means and not expect others to care for them when at the end of the road.

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  • July 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm
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    I am worried about how this is going to affect all of the small businesses in the center. The past couple of years have not been great, and now come March it will be a cluster. Construction will be a mess, and while they say it will only take a year I doubt it!

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