The council was scheduled to consider designating Central Park as the new primary site for a library. But the council chose to postpone that item for two weeks to allow more negotiations with the owner of what is still the primary site, the former Bethlehem Lutheran Church location in downtown Aberdeen.
After the meeting, City Manager Lynn Lander said counteroffers have been received from the owner of that site, Blackstone Developers LLC.
In January, the council approved a list of three possible sites for a new library, in order of preference. They are the Bethlehem Lutheran site, Central Park and the current location of the Alexander Mitchell Library. Last week, it appeared that the city could not negotiate an acceptable price for the Bethlehem Lutheran site, Lander said.
The Central Park site is a large green space off Second Avenue South across from the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center.
Before agreeing to continue the agenda item for two weeks, the council debated whether to discuss the subject in closed session. The issue was whether to make the dollar amounts being discussed public.
During the discussion, Mayor Mike Levsen said, “the range has narrowed between the ask and the offer.”
Councilman Jeff Mitchell said he believed a final decision should be made on the Bethlehem Lutheran site at the July 25 meeting.
The Central Park area, which hosted the Aberdeen Musicfest on Friday and Saturday, is owned by the city. It was originally given by C.C. Lee to the school district. There is a requirement that portions of the land be used for recreational purposes, City Attorney Adam Altman said after the meeting.
Meanwhile, the council heard a report about the wet conditions in the lower level of Alexander Mitchell. The library has been closed Monday and today.
Planning and Zoning Director Brett Bill told the council that a good share of the wallboard in the basement is wet halfway up the wall. In some areas, the moisture extends past the ceiling tile.
He also said there is extensive mold growth in the office of the children’s librarian and spots of mold in the children’s library. The planning and zoning department recommends drain tile on the inside and outside of the library.
Library director Shirley Arment told the council she hopes the library will be “up and running” Wednesday. Most of the books were taken upstairs on Monday. The rest will be transported upstairs today.
The library’s elevator didn’t work for part of Monday, but was functioning by the end of the day.
Arment said it’s not the first time library workers have moved books upstairs.
“It's not our first rodeo,” she said in an interview.
On another subject, Bill said the city has received several complaints about large tracts of grass that need to be mowed. That mowing will be done soon, he said. The property owners will be billed via abatement.