This City-Hall-A-Brary (anyone got an easier name?) may have some legs.

Yesterday, when I called Councilman Carl DeMaio’s office to see if he was still flirting with the idea of combining a new downtown library with a City Hall, communications director Erica Mendelson told me no and that DeMaio would be issuing a report explaining why, soon.

Mendelson says now she misunderstood me. And DeMaio was quick with an e-mail last night clarifying that he’s not not in favor of this idea. Here was his note:

wait a minute.  I AM INTERESTED IN STUDYING THIS.  i think erica might have misunderstood.  see attached memo from August — item 3.

our report we’re releasing concludes we shouldn’t build the new library-school combo on the east village site.  it doesn’t speak to the item above — and i’ve asked that CCDC advance that idea in the context of the city hall discussion. 

let me be clear: i haven’t endorsed the idea, but I am interested in getting a cost savings estimate from the combo of the city hall and library.

I think this may gain some momentum. You could still have some inspiring architecture to house on the bottom floors of City Hall all those books that supporters say can’t be contained in the current Central Library. On top of that, city staff, reporters and residents would all have the advantage of having historical archives and resources right next to them.

You can abolish the current library, free up that land and then free up the site of the proposed schoobrary and use all of it to leverage the City Hall site even further. We could have a true gathering place with multiple reasons to convene. At the same time, we’ve solved the problem of the costly, decrepit and dangerous City Hall and put the new library issue to bed forever.

Let’s keep talking.


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