Commission will consider JRVLS request
The Stutsman County Commission is open to considering a request from the James River Valley Library System Library Board to lease the entire building that used to house the James River Senior and Community Center.
Joseph Rector, director of the JRVLS, made the request to the County Commission at its meeting Tuesday. Currently the JRVLS, which operates the Stutsman County and Alfred Dickey libraries, leases space in the building for the county library and the bookmobile. Rector said the JRVLS board would like to lease the entire building while the board looks for sites for a new library.
“The biggest thing we’re looking for is stability on our part so we can plan,” Rector said.
The county is seeking an easement agreement with the James River Senior Center to allow free and clear entrance to the building over land the senior center owns under it. The County Commission is considering selling the building, but can’t do so until the easement issue is resolved.
County Auditor/Chief Operating Officer Casey Bradley said the county senior citizens board rejected a proposed easement agreement last month. Bradley said Stutsman County State’s Attorney Fritz Fremgen has been working on updating the proposed agreement.
County Commissioner Dennis Ova, the commission’s representative on the James River Senior Citizens Board, said the board would like to take action on a revised easement agreement with the county this month, if possible.
Another issue with the building and land is the zoning. Bradley said the area in which the building sits is zoned residential by the city of Jamestown. The county-owned building and property are a conditional use and are zoned commercial as part of the conditional use. Bradley said once the conditional use stops, the building and property revert back to residential zoning 12 months after the conditional use first stops.
Bradley said there is a question on when that 12-month clock starts with the building. The James River Senior Center moved out of the building in May to its new location in the former Jamestown Hospital building, the Legacy Center, owned by Lutheran Social Services. Bradley said he needs to get a determination from city officials about when the building and property revert to residential zoning.
Commission Chairman Mark Klose said it appeared the County Commission is open to the idea of discussing leasing the entire building to the JRVLS.
Ova said the library board should renovate Alfred Dickey Library because he thinks people would be more likely to support a renovation of it versus building a new library.
Commissioner Dale Marks, JRVLS chairman, participated in the meeting by phone as he is recovering from surgery. He said the Alfred Dickey Library building is a national historic building and that designation makes renovating it more difficult.
Rector said having the JRVLS lease the rest of the county-owned building would alleviate any concerns about the county library having to move out of the building on short notice if it were sold by the county.
In other business, the commission:
* approved a letter of support submitted by Jim Boyd, chairman of the Jamestown Airport Authority, for the U.S. Department of Transportation to accept the bid of SkyWest Airlines to provide commercial passenger service to Jamestown Regional Airport starting April 1. Boyd said the Airport Authority is also seeking a letter of support from the Jamestown City Council. The Airport Authority will submit letters and comments on the bids from SkyWest and Great Lakes Airlines on Jan. 6, the deadline for public comment on the two bids. Great Lakes Airlines currently provides three daily passenger services from Jamestown and Devils Lake to Minneapolis. SkyWest would provide one flight daily on a 50-seat jet to Denver.
* approved the polling locations for the 2014 primary and general elections. The Jamestown Civic Center, Pingree Community Center, Kensal Memorial Hall and Medina Memorial Hall are all polling locations. Absentee and early voting ballots are taken at the Stutsman County Courthouse in Jamestown.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email