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Should Clayton Library Move to The Center of Clayton?

While any changes are years away, a November ballot issue is prompting renewed discussion about relocating the Mid-County Branch of the St. Louis County Library from Maryland Avenue to the Clayton community center.

Talk of moving a St. Louis County Library branch to The Center of Clayton, route: {:controller=>"listings", :action=>"show", :id=>"the-center-of-clayton"} --> has reemerged ahead of a November ballot issue that would fund improvements in the library system for years to come.

A review of the proposal for the happened Tuesday during a joint meeting of the Clayton boards of education and aldermen.

But libraries director Charles Pace made two points clear. First, concept presented in 2009 by the architectural firm Christner isn't final. And second, the project wouldn't happen for another three to five years, assuming it comes to fruition.

"Nothing is written in stone," Pace told the boards. The current library is located at the intersection of Maryland and Central avenues.

Funding for the project would come from Proposition L, a tax levy that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot for people living within the library system. The measure would authorize a six-cent tax increase to fund library operations and improvements—including the rebuilding of the and four other locations—over the next decade, Pace said.

Assuming the proposition passes, someone with a $200,000 house would pay about $23 yearly in library taxes. to the committee backing the ballot measure.

The 2009 proposal for the Clayton library called for a three-floor facility located at . Part of the branch would operate as the library for comprises about 16,000 square feet, the new facility would offer about 13,000 square feet per floor, Pace said.

Representatives with the approached the St. Louis County Library about the possibility of a branch at the Center during Dr. Don Senti's tenure as superintendent.

Treasurer Brad Bernstein of the Clayton school board said he likes the . But he said the library system should commit to investing more resources in Clayton. That's because residents return more to the system in taxes than do many other communities as a result of higher assessed valuations of homes.

"Obviously, Clayton would benefit more than some" with a new building, Pace said. While the is closed on Sundays, for example, extended hours might be possible with funding from Proposition L.

Sonny Buttar, a Clayton school board director, asked within what time frame the board would need to decide whether to move forward with concept. The development would happen on school district property that school board President Jane Klamer said is being used as a stormwater detention area.

Pace replied that a decision about whether to continue talks would probably be needed within the next 12 months.

City involvement with the library issue previously included discussions about zoning and a parking garage, Mayor Linda Goldstein said. The Clayton Recreation, Sports and Wellness Commission also would play a role.

School board director Omri Praiss said the would be a "wonderful addition" to . He said he thinks the site is feasible, and he said past conversation indicated it would be possible to relocate the stormwater detention area.

"It's potentially a win-win for everyone," Praiss said.

The library director agreed.

"I think it's worth exploring further," Pace said.

Vice President Susan Bradley Buse of the Clayton school board said she uses the library and characterized the plan as wonderful and expansive. She asked for a copy of the library system's mission statement to better understand how its goals are being prioritized.

Marcia Kerz, executive director of Clayton-based nonprofit

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