Monday, July 28, 2008

Because I feel obligated

There is an article in the AJC concerning the Central Library. Seeing as I've been following this issue:
Szabo and other library supporters say a new facility would draw people downtown, much as the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola museum have done. A building with "architectural significance," Pitts said, could boost economic development.
Well, I've ranted about this enough, but here are a few more reasons these statements don't hold water:
  1. We have a Central Library with architectural significance. It just offends Rob Pitts artistic sensibility. Perhaps declining traffic has more to do with the increasing obsolescence of libraries in a digital age. The library in part exists to make information available to low-income residents of the city. Moving the library further from a rail station is not the best way to serve these residents.

    And really, people don't pay that much attention to the Central Library. In the two-year public planning that went into the Library Master Plan, not one citizen said, "Hey, we need a new Central Library." They focused on better uses of the debt - more branch libraries closer to their homes.

  2. I've said it before, but libraries are not economic drivers or tourist destinations on par with the world's largest aquarium or a museum for the most recognizable brand in the world. I have been to numerous tourist destinations and convention cities, including: London, Paris, Dublin, New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Antonio; in NONE of these cities did I even consider going to the public library.

    Of these cities, only the New York Public Library is perhaps an example of a tourist destination, because it is historic and has been in a ton of movies. It's not a good example of what we'll end up with.
Further, Where are the matching public funds going to come from? Atlanta has a few higher priority public-private partnerships, including:
  • The Center for Civil and Human Rights
  • The new Symphony
  • The BeltLine
  • The annual Woodruff Arts fundraising drive
  • The Health Museum
When there are so many urgent needs for funds, who exactly is going to put forward $85 million for an unnecessary library?

Also, there is no plan for the library beyond Rob Pitts idea that it be "futuristic" and focus on "technology". They haven't procured any land, have no architectural renderings - nothing. We are supposed to support $85 million in debt without a clue as to what it will be used for? You couldn't get a project at this stage financed in the private market in a million years.

What a colossal waste of money. No wonder nobody likes the Fulton County Commission.

Please contact me if you are interested in organizing to oppose this bond referendum for the fall. While the rest of the bond may be worthwhile, public officials should not be rewarded for acting so capriciously. Email me here.


  1. i just got an afpl card this week. all part of my plan to save money and reduce consumption.

    i have yet to visit mr. pitts's most hated building, but i'll let you know when i do.

  2. Another crazy comment from that article is that Pitts said a building with "architectural significance" will boost economic development - a Breuer building is inherently significant! And as for economic development, how do retail sales or overnight stays increase from a library? And it's not like you buy anything while you're at the library; it's all free!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.