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August 28, 2014

Mayor Timothy Hanna

100 N. Appleton Street
Appleton, WI 54911-4799


Dear Mayor Hanna,

Thank you for your tireless efforts to improve the City of Appleton. We are writing to express
concerns regarding the Library Boards recommendation this week to build a new Library at a
site located on prime tax-base riverfront property. We are addressing our concerns to you, as
the Library Boards decision has already been made, because they serve at your appointment,
and because their recommendations must be approved by the City Council which is influenced
by your leadership.

The plan unveiled this week by the Library Board shows no increase in space for the number of
books, and as we move further into a digital age, space for books may decrease further. That
does not suggest a need for a larger facility. Building one or two off-site annexes with meeting
rooms and computer space might also be a much less expensive alternative to provide needs
beyond book storage. A citizen at Mondays meeting suggested the City might do more to
connect citizens with Library resources and to promote local business expansion by investing to
make Appleton a Wi-Fi City v. building a showpiece Library. We see no evidence such
alternatives have been considered by the Library Board. In fact, an August 14, 2014 letter from
the City states they have not requested alternative ideas and will not consider any at this time.

Regarding options for improving our Library, we understand the prior 2009 study
recommended renovating the current site as a viable option. We understand an approximate
price tag of 32 million dollars has been stated by the current consultants for the cost to
renovate the Library compared to a cost of about 37 million to build a new facility. But we have
not seen detail to substantiate that large a figure for renovation. We have reviewed detailed
plans drafted by Curtis Biggar, a private-practice architect who has volunteered his time to
encourage renovation of the current site. His plan suggests renovating can provide exceptional
improvement to the current facility for a figure of just 17 million dollars, saving 20 million
dollars compared to building new. You can CLICK HERE to see his plans, including several state-
of-the-art features.

In addition to the cost of new land and a new building, we are concerned that the move to the
riverfront location will create traffic issues that will involve several million dollars in additional
cost to solve. It is a congested area that is not convenient to families with children driving to the
facility. It will also remove prime real estate from our tax-base creating a substantial on-going
expense from lost revenue. We are also told that City Hall is considering moving into the
current Library, once vacated. We assume the renovating costs involved will total several
million additional dollars, perhaps more than the cost to renovate the current building as a
Library because the use of space will require more extensive change.

We question whether due diligence has been conducted by the Library Board in the
examination of the option to renovate the current facility. We ask you to recommend to the
City Council that the City entertain open-bids for renovating the current facility that citizens
can examine to confirm the true cost of renovating v. building a new Library. We are
concerned that 82 thousand dollars has already been spent on architectural work for a new
Library that may not be needed, and ask that the City delay any further spending on an
unsecured site for a new Library location, until the City Council has completed additional due
diligence in review of renovating the current location and considered other, less costly

We also ask that you please provide citizens a list of all related expenses for Library
expansion, City Hall relocation, Traffic and Parking solutions, etc. before acting to purchase
land or to secure other funding for a new Library.

Please let us know if you are willing to advance these requests with your recommendation for
approval at the next meeting of the City Council?

Thank you for your service and your consideration of this request.


Mike Thomas
1 Hillock Court, Appleton, WI 54914
(920) 205-9569

Additional Signatories:
Robert E. Bodoh, Former President, Appleton Library Board
Co-founder, Appleton Library Foundation (now renamed FOAL)
1601 N. Douglas St., Appleton WI 54914
Bill Recker, 1317 N. Durkee St, Appleton WI 54911
Charles Chuck Schmidt, 717 N. Richmond St., Appleton WI 54911
Alexander Schultz, 716 W. Front St., Appleton WI 54914
Peter Beckley, 624 W.Seymour St., Appleton WI 54915
Brian Garrow, 806 W. Winnebago St., Appleton WI 54914
Howard Miller, 15 Sunbeam Ct., Appleton WI 54915
Steven Gillespie, 2583 N. Millbrook Rd., Appleton WI 54914
Ed Perkins, President Fox Valley Initiative, 4486 N. Whitehawk Dr., Appleton WI 54913
Curtis Biggar, 1221 S Van Dyke Rd Apt 1j, Appleton WI 54914

c: All Alderpersons