Library acquires Wolverine buildingPublished 8:11pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Dowagiac District Library has acquired the Wolverine building, the home converted to the former school administration headquarters facing Main Street.
“The board figured it would regret it if we didn’t scoop it up,” Director Jacob Munford said Wednesday. “We’re still trying to figure out” its future use, from utilizing it in its current form or, down the road, “tearing it down” for the site of a new library.
“I wish there was more solidity to what we’re doing right now,” he said. “There are a lot of options. Working with the public, a lot of voices need to be heard. Community input is essential to what we do because we use community funds. We haven’t been too loud about it, frankly, because not everything is locked in place. You buy a piece of property and the next immediate question is, ‘What are you going to do with it?’ We don’t know exactly until we sit down and go, ‘What’s our long-term goal for that space?’ one year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now?
“It’s definitely in the library’s best interest to have that property. Usage is going up and this space has always been a concern. It’s crowded in here and wasn’t designed with flexibility in mind. The integrity of the building is tantamount. It’s not a strip mall where you can knock out a wall to fit our purpose. It’s a beautiful Carnegie. People have a lot of pride in the way this building looks. The age of the library, the structure of the library, where the library is placed are all very central to the identity of this town. I’ve been here two months and I know that. That’s not something you mess around with.”
Changing from a public library to a district library guided by a volunteer board provided more financial stability. The city owns the Carnegie building and leases it for $1 a year.
The city also owns the former Clark station lot across Zarry’s Alley a block west of the central business district.
Huntington Bank, including Dogwood Fine Arts Festival headquarters, occupies the rest of the block.
The library at 211 Commercial St. expanded 40 years ago in 1973 to its current appearance.