Southlake City Council considers new library within Carillon Parc development

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Southlake City Council discussed potential uses and funding sources for a two-story library within the Carillon Parc development during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Design plans include 30,000 square feet of space on each floor, Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher said during a presentation. Staff estimates the library will carry $26 million in tangible costs.

While the first floor could be used as dedicated library space with access to adjacent parking and green space, there are several options for the second floor, including a performing arts center, hotel meeting space, additional library programming and a museum exhibit space.

Council Member Randy Williamson said he supports using that space to promote learning like an observatory or museum.

“There’s nothing more educational than a library. … I think that second level should at least be along that theme,” Williamson said.

For the project to be a responsible investment, the second-floor space would need to be flexible and available for multiple uses, Mayor Laura Hill said. This makes a performing arts center an unfavorable option as it would likely require installation of a stage or seating.

“If you’ve committed space to things that are built in—that can’t be moved—then you lose that ability [to do more things],” Hill said. “I’m not ‘anti-’ anything, I just want to be flexible.”

One big challenge is finding available funding for the project, she said.

Southlake Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson said property tax revenue can be used to support the first level of the library.

“The second floor—depending on the uses—will open up other funding sources like [hotel occupancy tax]money if it’s an allowable expense. …It really depends on what we decide to do with the second floor.”

Another option is the city can raise funds through partnerships with community organizations like the Southlake Historical Society, Hill said.

No specific decisions have been made at this point, City Manager Shana Yelverton said.

“We’ve got a long road ahead before we’re going to have to be committed on exactly what we’re going to do,” Yelverton said.

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Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.
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