Growing Grimes Makes New Library Top Priority With LOSST Funding

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GRIMES, Iowa — Most libraries are known for being quiet, but at the Grimes Public Library on Tuesday mornings it's anything but.

“We are now bursting at the seams,” Grimes Library Director Cheryl Heid said.

Toddler storytime echoes throughout the 25-year-old, 6,500 square foot library.

“It was built to help a town of 7,000 people and now we are nearing 15,000 and we have outgrown our structure,” Heid said.

With Grimes expected to double in size again within the next 20 years, the city is deciding to quadruple its library with a new 30,000 square foot facility at the entrance of the Heritage development on the north end of town. It will be located on the southeast corner of James Street and Beaverbrooke Boulevard.

“After the local option sales tax (LOSST) referendum was successful, it passed by more than 80 percent in Grimes, the city council went through a strategic planning session. At that time [they] identified the library as one of the key promises that was made,” Grimes City Administrator Jake Anderson said.

Anderson said LOSST money will support about 25-percent of the $10.5 million library. The other 75-percent he said will most likely come from tax increment financing (TIF) dollars.

“The library gets a lot of use. [It] serves a broad spectrum of residents in town. There’s a lot of young families in Grimes,” Anderson said.

Heid said the new library means more programming, media room space, and community outreach, and that can only help Grimes’ social infrastructure.

“It’s about more than just something you can pick off a shelf. It’s the relationships that you develop, the storytimes that you attend, the hot spots you can borrow,” Heid said.

The current library was renovated six years ago with new bathrooms, carpet, and a fresh coat of paint. The city said that the investment will not go to waste.

“The investment that was put into the library six years ago will still be worthwhile because we will have other city functions that will need to backfill into this space,” Anderson said.

The new library will be the first civic building the city has constructed in nearly 20 years.

“Pretty much every other city building we’re in, whether or not that’s the community center, public works, city hall, those were all buildings we acquired from previous users. The fire station and the [current] library were constructed by the city, but this will be the first one in nearly twenty years, so that’s just exciting to begin with,” Alex Pfaltzgraff, Development Services Director for Grimes said.

The library will join the Hope Church and Heritage Elementary in the Heritage development. Pfaltzgraff said architect firm INVISION will design the new library.

“We’re hoping to [build] off some of those previously used design principles with the Hope Church, the Heritage Elementary, and really design a building that has a lasting presence, a feeling of strength, which I think is important for the community,” Pfaltzgraff said.

Pfaltzgraff said they are currently looking into some innovative stormwater management techniques as well as geothermal.

When LOSST passed for Grimes in August the city also mentioned building a new fire station. Anderson said that’s the next item on their list, currently working to acquire land on the west side of town.

“We’ve done some modeling of response times and we think a fire station is probably more appropriately placed out west by the high school. That area still has some developing that it needs to do,” Anderson said.

Since that area is still growing, the city felt they could move forward with the library project first, and then work on the public safety building.

Pfaltzgraff said thanks to LOSST, the library could be finished within the next two years.

“We’re able to really speed up the timeline associated with the library, but we’ll spend the next couple months continuing the visioning and concepting. Hopefully, by this time next year we have broken ground with anticipating to be open in the fall of 2021,” Pfaltzgraff said.

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