Palisade board extends library lease 3 months

The Palisade branch of the Mesa County Public Library District can continue to operate at its current location rent-free for another three months while the library’s Board of Trustees continues to contemplate options for a new home for the branch.

With just a week remaining on the library’s lease in Palisade, the Palisade Board of Trustees voted 5–1 late Tuesday night to allow the branch to stay in its 3,300-square-foot space adjacent to the Palisade Civic Center at 711 Iowa St. Trustee Bennett Price cast the dissenting vote.

The decision, reached just before midnight after an executive session, came after the board initially rejected the library’s request to temporarily keep the Palisade branch at its current location. Some trustees expressed frustration over the library’s indecisiveness about a new location and indicated that asking the library to pay rent was fair.

The library has been leasing the Palisade branch space from the town for free for 10 years. Palisade offered a 5,000-square-foot space inside the Civic Center at a cost of $550,000 to $650,000, but library leaders, concerned about the time it might take to complete construction on the Civic Center, haven’t showed interest.

Library Director Eve Tallman wrote a letter to the town May 16, asking trustees to consider allowing the Palisade branch to stay put for a little while longer.

On Tuesday, Price accused the library of “playing games” with the town and keeping them in the dark about its plans for the Palisade branch.

Trustee Jim Harkreader agreed with Price, saying the library “has had 10 years to know this day was coming to come up with a plan.”

“I think that asking them to pay a fairly nominal rent to stay where they are is reasonable,” he said.

Trustee Mike Krueger, though, said the library is an important amenity in the community and that the town should remain committed to it.

After voting 3–3 to deny Tallman’s request — trustees Penny Prinster, Harkreader and Price voted against extending the lease for three months — the board entered into an executive session. It then reversed itself.

“The bottom line is the Town Board is really supportive of the library and wants to cooperate with the library district,” Town Administrator Tim Sarmo said Wednesday. “There was obviously some frustration but no animosity.”

The library is exploring several potential new downtown locations for the Palisade branch, including the former Palisades National Bank building at 305 S. Main St. and the former Tucan Coffee House building at 239 S. Main St.


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