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Madison checks out of new central library

By Paul Snyder

Madison leaders have abandoned plans for a $37 million new central library on West Washington Avenue and will instead pursue renovation of the existing central library.

Madison Library Board President Tripp Widder said Thursday that city leaders met with the Fiore/Irgens development team Wednesday to try resolving differences on a proposed turnkey project that would have had a development team build a new library’s exterior while the city designed and built the interior.

“We just weren’t able to close the gap,” Widder said.

Instead, Madison will look to renovate its existing library on West Mifflin Street, which Widder said could begin within the year. He said the city could still select an architect out of candidates interviewed earlier this year for the proposed new library to design the renovation.

He also said the Madison Library Foundation, which had been on the hook to raise $10 million for a new library, might see that goal reduced to $4 million for a renovation project.

“The foundation agreed that there just won’t be the same level of excitement as there would for a completely new building,” he said. “But we still have to wait and see what kind of designs we get for the rebuild.”

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