Council Approves Lease of Hunt Branch Library

GMI Agrees to Pay $1,500 Per Month for the Historic 4-Story Building

Council passed a motion Tuesday night to enter into an eighteen month lease of the Hunt Branch Library with Grace Ministries International (GMI). 

The 3-2 decision allows the congregation to rent 4,500 sq. ft. of the entire Hunt Branch property (approx. 10,000 sq. ft.) for $1,500 per month. A six month option is attached to the agreement which would allow GMI to extend rent on a month by month basis. Terms of a new lease could be renogotiated at the end of the two-year period pending council approval.
GMI agreed it will be responsible for all interior and exterior maintenence of the historic building, and will additionally construct new features to the property which include: surveilance cameras on the building exterior, temporary fencing around the perimeter of the branch grounds, and a temporary secured area (2,000 sq. ft.) to store materials currently stored in the Hunt building.
Council Member Jan Flory motioned to approve the terms and conditions for GMI to temporarily lease the Hunt Branch Library, and commented on its current condition:
"I think the success of the Hunt Library at its present location is going to require that the whole site be reworked, so that it is more accessible. We are in a very strained budgetary time. It is essential that we maintain the main library [...] There is no question that the main library bears the burden of library services."
Council Members Chaffee, Fitzgerald, and Flory commended GMI for "stepping up" to secure the lease despite the cost of upkeep, but Mayor Bruce Whitaker was, "struck by the curious handling" that allowed Grace Ministries to apply for the lease while avoiding a competitive bidding process:
"The idea of identifying a sole source, and basically approaching them, and dealing with this in this fashion is completely wrong in my opinion. If we are dealing with public assets, we need to make a very public offering to allow all interested with the opportunity to come to the table."
The Hunt building was gifted to the city government on the condition that it be used as a library. Nearby park space and the front lawn of the Hunt Branch building will still be accessible by the public. However, the main entrance and its perimeter will be fenced off during the length of the lease.
This council item is available via archive and begins at 2:58 - 10/15/2013

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