I’ve served as a trustee in the Village of Egg Harbor for 17 years. It comes as no surprise that in the course of time and service I’ve had to make many difficult votes; voting in favor of the Egg Harbor Library Community Center was not one of them. Here’s why:
It’s essential for a community to discuss, learn and gather. A new library will fill the need expressed by community members for a high-quality meeting space. Today’s libraries are also a place of exploration. Adults can find sources for lifelong learning, developing new skills through books, classes, and library-subscribed products. Children can learn to socialize and play. Residents can explore new hobbies, learn new skills, and accomplish projects with little investment in the new makerspaces. Small business owners will have a space to work, connect and find resources. I do envision great synergies with the Door County Economic Development Corporation. Ultimately, the new Library Community Center will provide more to the Egg Harbor community than what is currently available.
Librarians themselves have begun to serve a different purpose: they are information professionals. While they may not be book gatekeepers anymore, they are experts at helping people find the information in the vast amounts available.
Some residents have expressed concerns with the building design, namely that it may be too large for the Village of Egg Harbor. The building design has been led by a group of community members with more than 21 public committee meetings and at least three presentations to the Board of Trustees during the past year. Size of the building was determined to accommodate the library needs on the first floor, as well as the size of the great hall on the second floor. The building will include: workroom, makerspace, children’s area, business center and history center.
These are all needs that were defined through community input. The second floor space, which is open to the public when not in use, will fit a niche in the community in terms of seating capacity for social, cultural, educational and business gatherings. The Great Hall space could also generate some revenue on weekend evenings as a wedding reception or event venue, activating the building when it might otherwise be unused. While a wedding venue should not be considered a primary driver in designing the Great Hall space; the ability to host larger events will generate additional lodging demands and subsequently room tax revenue. Such revenue, in addition to direct room rental revenue can be placed toward the ongoing operations and maintenance of the building.
Libraries and community centers are buildings that are traditionally funded through public revenue. At times, there may be some modest private donations toward these types of buildings. The level of private funding for the Egg Harbor project, which is nearly three times than that being contributed through tax dollar revenue, is nothing short of remarkable and is a testament to the community support this building has received.
Those who call Egg Harbor home should be proud that such a building will be located within village limits, and will undoubtedly service the greater Door County community.
Egg Harbor, Wis.