South KC Perspective
Red Bridge Library Moves North…A Bit
By John Sharp
Unless something falls through at the last minute, the Red Bridge Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) will be moving to a larger more visible space facing Red Bridge Rd. in the eastern half of the old bowling alley shared by Euston Hardware on the west.
The MCPL Board of Trustees on July 17 authorized MCPL Director and CEO Steven Potter to finalize a contract with Lane4 Property Group, the owner/operator of Red Bridge Shopping Center, for a long term lease of the space which is about 2,000 square feet larger than its present building.
Potter told me in an interview that negotiations for a longterm lease are nearing completion. “MCPL will be there for a long time to come,” he said.
“My guess is that renovation work may start early this fall,” he said, “and we hope to be in the new facility in 2019.”
MCPL is considering the possibility of constructing patio seating areas in front of the building on the north side and in the present grass area at the rear of the building on the south side.
He said an advantage of moving to a new building rather than renovating its present one is that it will minimize closure time and patron inconvenience.
Following voter approval of an increase in MCPL’s property tax levy in November 2016, MCPL originally planned to extensively renovate the Red Bridge Branch’s current building.
After Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City announced it was moving to Red Bridge Shopping Center, the two organizations announced plans to share a new building. However, those plans were dropped when at least one potential museum funder had concerns about funding a facility that also benefitted a governmental entity such as MCPL.
MCPL then returned to its original plan to renovate its existing building while still considering options for a larger and more visible location at the Shopping Center.
“This is great for the community, great for the shopping center and great for the library,” said Owen Buckley, president of Lane4. “The library already brings a lot of people to the center, but it will bring even more with good visibility, modernization and more space and services.”
Potter said MCPL is interested in selling its current 12,314 square foot facility as soon as it relocates.
Commercial Realtors have told me it might be an ideal site for a company office that did not need high visibility, particularly since the shopping center now has attractive after work venues, such as Blue Moose Bar & Grill and Crows Coffee that recently applied for a license to sell alcoholic beverages by the drink, with more such attractions expected.
Several area residents have expressed interest in the possibility of a day care facility coming to the shopping center to fill the void created by the recent closure of La Petite Academy.