Continuing debate
10:55 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Eagle River City Council To Uncouple From Olson Library

Walter Olson Library Eagle River
Credit commons.wikimedia.org

The Olson Library in Eagle River is looking for a new owner. No, the library is not up for sale, but after more than 34 years, the City of Eagle River does not want to own it any longer.

In a unanimous decision Monday evening, the council authorized the city attorney to transfer the library property to any other six municipalities that fund the operation of the library.

Alderman Jerry Burkett made the motion to authorize the transfer of library property as a way to resolve the conflict between the City of Eagle River and the library trustees and foundation. The groups have been squabbling over bidding for contracts for design and construction of a new library.

Tina Koller served as president of the library Board of Trustees until recently...

"....I think the city council took the only action they were comfortable with at this time."

Phil Jensen has been leading the capital campaign to raise funds for the library expansion and renovation...

"..... The City has never been comfortable with this situation as it exists. They were presented with a gift of $2.5 million and they haven't really been able to come with the most effective way to deal with it..."

The issue of ownership of the Olson Library is far from over, however. Laurie Stoegbauer, president of the library Board of Trustees, and Jensen expressed optimism that one of the six towns involved in supporting the library would agree to take over the property and serve as fiscal agent.

The council Monday also authorized city Clerk-Treasurer Debbie Brown to resign as the library's fiscal agent as of August 15. Brown expressed her strong support of the library, but admitted being uncomfortable serving as fiscal agent.

The mid-August date of Brown's resignation puts pressure on the library Board of Trustees to find a new owner and fiscal agent among the six townships.

Tags: