Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 70
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for November 22, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Volunteer efforts to improve Warrensburg are creating some excitement. The Blind Boone Park effort is really taking off and now the project for a badly-needed new facility for the Trails Regional Library is getting underway. While I was unable to attend the library meeting last Thursday evening, I was glad to read that they had a crowd. One of the first things I did when I was transferred to the area in 1969 was to get a library card at Trails (the old Market Street location), and we have been members of Friends of the Library for some time. That said, I do have some comments and cautions for the Library Building Planning committee.

The current library is the heart of downtown Warrensburg. While it’s great that the locations under consideration are in the downtown area, I suspect that all available real estate is somewhat peripheral. The least costly would be City-owned property west of the Municipal Building (after all, the County did donate land for Warrensburg’s veterans home). The old Estes Hotel site is closer but probably too small unless the Inland Chemical building is included; both would have to be acquired. Other sites along Culton, East Market or Railroad would displace existing businesses.

Architecture is another concern. The current building has a ‘homey’ feel. It’s a warm & friendly library, not cold and sterile like many I’ve visited over the years. While the staff certainly plays a role here, so does the design & décor. I would hope that the planners work to keep the design simple, useful & ‘homey’ rather than build a civic monument that will drain resources as the “Taj Mahal” (Warrensburg Community Center) has.

According to the news stories, the planning committee reports directly to the library’s Board of Trustees, and several trustees serve on the committee. Consequently, it seems to me that the committee and its subcommittees are all subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law. That means that every meeting of every committee and subcommittee must be publicly announced and must be open to the public (unless the matter under discussion meets one of the few exceptions and is properly scheduled). Meetings already held might technically have been in violation, although I doubt anyone wants to make an issue of it. Anything done by a tax supported agency, such as the Trails Library system, is rightfully subject to public scrutiny, and any form of secretiveness will erode public support for a worthwhile project.

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