UP Breaks Ground on New Library

Officials from University Park, the University Park Public Library, and The Plaza at Preston Center take part in the library's groundbreaking Thursday morning.

With dozens of officials and community members standing by, University Park officially broke ground on its new library Thursday morning in the Plaza at Preston Center.

The permanent home for the library will be part of a new five-story office and retail building, taking the place of the old Corner Bakery building.

“We will strive to become a true community destination, a community jewel that is worthy of its citizens,” said Friends of the Library president Susan Hall, before the groundbreaking.

The second floor of the new building will become the permanent home of the library; the city will own the space. The library space was made possible by an agreement between the city and the Plaza at Preston Center, in which the city abandoned bits of streets, sidewalks, and alleys in return for the space.

“We believe when we’re done, the quality of life in and around the Plaza will be even better,” said property manager Mike Geisler.

The library is expected to open by early 2013.

26 thoughts on “UP Breaks Ground on New Library

  • September 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm
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    And the city keeps paying 200,000.00 a year!

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  • September 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm
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    Why are the taxpayers expected to pay for this expensive bit of nostalgia? How about some numbers on how many unique visitors the library has, how many books are checked out etc.? Or are we just building a nice reading room for a select few retirees?
    Internet? Kindle? Half-price books? Amazon? Hellllooo?
    The UP demographic isn’t exactly impoverished.
    And don’t our county taxes go to pay for Dallas County libraries? Why not use those?
    Isn’t anyone in the news business asking these questions?

    IJS

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  • September 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm
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    @ Eric, Unless something has changed, it is my understanding that UP residents cannot use the Dallas libraries.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 9:36 am
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    I think Eric raises some good questions.

    Meanwhile, this serves as one more example of why Preston Plaza has overtaken Snider Plaza as the more desirable shopping center in UP.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 9:57 am
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    Fellas- I don’t remember the exact number, but I know the Friends of the Library is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign for the new space. I’ll try to find the numbers, but just wanted to check in.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 11:05 am
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    No need to ask why we don’t use Dallas County libraries – there is no such thing. UP residents don’t pay for City of Dallas libraries, except to the extent that city sales tax may be used to pay library expense. Non City of Dallas residents can’t get a Dallas library card to check out books. UP residents can’t use the HP library.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm
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    Bradford,

    The city puts 2,000,000.00 a year into the library!

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  • September 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm
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    You mean HP has a library too? Really? And UP can’t use it? Is there some sort of crack epidemic going on at the UP/HP city halls?
    I mean, what’s up with that?
    Do they have ANY books in these libraries on um, Fiscal Responsibility or, Economies of Scale, or, um, Why the Stupid Public Continues to Fund Anachronisms, or even, How to Tar and Feather Elected Officials?

    IJS

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  • September 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm
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    BM-

    According to budget documents, it’s $196,555 for this upcoming year.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm
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    Eric, have you visited the UP Library which is now located on the south end of Snider Plaza in the Chase Bank building? Since its 2001 opening in this temporary donated space, it’s become a neighborhod gem for all ages! I am sure the Library Director would be happy to give you a tour and answer your questions.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm
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    Wait, there’s a HP library? And no one in the UP government can figure out a way to strike a deal (read: give them money) to share this?

    Hey, I love the UP library, my kids use it all the time. But there is also a library at their school, and I wouldn’t mind driving 5-10 minutes farther to use the HP library.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm
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    I live in UP and have a City of Dallas Library card. It costs $250 a year for unlimited checkout privileges. Anyone can purchase one. Last time I checked (which admittedly was years ago), UP residents could purchase a Highland Park library card.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm
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    When we first moved to UP in 2002, I went to the library near my kids’ elementary school (Armstrong) only to be told that we could not use the library without paying a fee because we lived in UP and not HP. “Your taxes don’t support us!” was the unfriendly comment I received. Wow! Coming from a county with a library system that won national awards every year and was a hub of community life, I was shocked. So much for story time and taking some books home for my toddlers. I am so happy to see the kids area at our UP library (even though my own are past all that.) It’s about community.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm
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    XT,

    That would make alot of sense to have a Park Cites library, but the two cities are different as day and night. They do not get along and will not share anything.

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  • September 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm
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    Our family uses that piece of “nostalgia” all the time. Our little kids participate in the kids programs and have increased their amount of summer reading that they do because of the fun incentives and organization that access to a kindle or amazon just doesn’t even begin to replicate.
    Dad and Mom check out the latest thrillers without having to pay the price to purchase things that are just “beach reads” as opposed to things we want to keep. It’s great that some people can afford to buy everything they want to read but for other families, there may be to many desirable reads to be able to purchase everything.

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  • September 11, 2011 at 6:40 am
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    The HP City Council has consistently declined to consider merging with the Friends of the University Park Library (who own and run the UP Library). The original name of the Friends of the University Park Library was the Friends of the Library for the Park Cities.
    The City of UP grants @ $195,000 to the friends for the salaries of the three professional librarians and other staff from a gift of $1.2m years ago from a UP resident for civic improvement.
    HP spends @ $700,000 annually on a 5,000 square foot library for 8,000 residents. The current UP Library in the Chase Bank is 5,500 sf for 23,000 residents and the rest of the money is raised by volunteers.

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  • September 11, 2011 at 10:32 am
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    They are two completely different cities – different budgets, tax bases, etc. We may all be friends, but we live in two distinct municipalities. No offense is intended by HP to UP or by UP to HP – JUST TWO DIFFERENT CITIES!

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  • September 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm
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    Eric,

    Unless you have done the research, please don’t knock a jewel in our community. My five kids have enjoyed so many hours of reading during the summer programs, but the adults (not retired) and my parents too have also enjoyed our wonderful library. We are weekly patrons and check out all genres. I admit to reading the romance and mysteries, but my husband enjoys the latest non-fiction releases. We also have a card for the City of Dallas library and we use it weekly too, but my kids (ranging in age from 16 to 7) prefer the UP library based on selection, representing their respective schools in the summer competition and the convenience of being able to walk to check out a book, do research during the school year and then in the summer, receive a reading incentive prize beyond the joy of just reading a great book. Kitty, the “kids’ librarian” is not only knowledgeable, but also interested in making the library a cool place for teens to hang. The Poetry Slam night this summer was well-attended and a new experience for PC teens. The community partners that support the library have made it a place where kids want to go and participate in reading (thank you, among so many others, Chik-Fil-A, JD’s Chippery, Drip Coffee, Roly Poly, UP pool concessions, Plaza Health Foods, Mustang Donuts and so many more). In the past, the UP Library has awarded Ringling Circus tickets, free new and beautiful books, a fish tank, karate gear and free lessons and a whole plethura of other prizes to kids participating in the reading program. Add to that, the Saturday morning programs for kids are wonderful. Unless you have personally seen the joy on the faces of the kids utilizing this community asset (all ages … my dad is a dedicated shopper at the Book Sales and loves buying book gifts for all his 8 grandkids), you really should not throwing out what I believe to be uninformed criticism. Grab a few minutes and go visit! Katy

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  • September 12, 2011 at 9:24 am
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    My wife and sons and I just made our initial visit to the UP Library on Saturday. As my oldest is two and a half, we had never been in before. I guess we were more like Eric’s Amazon and B&N Nook crowd. I now love our Library and wish we had been supporting it before. The librarian knew immediately what book my son was wanting despite is two-year-old memory in trying to describe it. The children’s area is wonderful.

    I just wish it weren’t moving out of walking distance for us, but I’m sure it will be a fabulous space.

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  • September 12, 2011 at 9:45 am
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    @sls. As a regular patron of the HP library, I can’t imagine any librarian there being unfriendly. You are welcome to use the library and attend story times all you wish, but to check things out, you have to pay for a library card. Same as Dallas.

    Sometime in the last 20 years I recall a vote in HP on whether to include UP in the HP Library tax base, and it failed. I suspect many HP residents were concerned by having the number of possible patrons jump to 4 times the previous number. It is a wonderful library, small but choice.

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  • September 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm
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    UP’s library has a subscription to Overdrive, http://www.overdrive.com. Enter 75205 and click through to find it. With your library card, check out books and download to your e-reader.

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  • September 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm
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    Simple solution…, go and vote them out!! UP councilmembers and HP councilmembers do have something in common. Both love to spend the taxpayers money (OPM).

    What happened to fiscal frugality?

    I’m still trying to figure out why HP councilmembers approve of paying the HP librarian over $100,000 in annual salary. AND, which is more than some of our HP police officer’s annual salary. Give me a break.

    Spend, spend, spend. I recall receiving a recent letter from Mayor Seay stating something about the new HP Town Hall being paid for. If HP has so much excess money, then give it back to the taxpayer.

    If you have to pay the HP libraian $100,000 per year, then at the very least, and out of respect for HP DPS officers risking their lives everyday, pay the HP DPS officers the same amount.

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  • September 13, 2011 at 9:21 am
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    @Sam

    Concerning the just approved FY2012 budget for the City of University Park …

    – No tax increase. The average single family homeowner will pay $60 less in taxes than in FY2011.
    – No increase in water, wastewater, or sanitation rates.
    – Balanced General, Utility, and Sanitation Fund budgets.
    – A reduction of two full-time positions.
    – No market based pay raise for employees.
    – Level pay-as-you-go capital project funding, $5.2. million.

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  • September 13, 2011 at 11:25 am
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    @ Steve,

    That doesn’t address Sam’s point. His point is that we’ve been paying high taxes for years, so comparing it to 2011 is irrelevant.

    Just because UP has been able to collect a lot of taxes (and obviously excess taxes) over the years doesn’t justify overspending. Given where home values have gone over the past 4 years, being down $60 doesn’t seem significant.

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  • September 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm
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    Mr. Mace

    Thank you for your reply. Your info. is appreciated. From what I have taken the time to learn… and what I believe erks most folks today is simply the spending of taxpayers dollars when what we have will suffice.

    With no disrespect, some bloggers have very good points. By the way, I’m glad to see that UP Headquarters actually responds with a real name! Have a great day.

    Sam.

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  • September 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm
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    @ XT

    Components of combined property tax bill

    HPISD = 55%
    Dallas County and related entities = 31%
    City of University Park = 14%

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