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Falk takes a (long) look back at (long) new library process

By Jonathan Morales
Friday, November 13th, 2009 at 12:25 pm in Uncategorized.

You can read my take on the new Lafayette library here. But if you want City Manager Steven Falk’s take, look no further than the sole item in his Friday summary, where he not-so-succinctlydeftly sums up the long process to get the library built:

After twenty years of fundraising, fifteen years of planning, and the study of thirteen different properties; after choosing the most central site in Lafayette, with half of the people living north and half south, half east and half west, with two schools just blocks away; after designing and constructing with the great Art Miller and Terry Murphy the most beautiful stone, wood, and glass Veterans Memorial Building in California; after more than 700 people dropped by on a rainy day to check out the architecture competition and vote for their favorite library design; after Roger Falcone and Bob Fisher dreamed up the Glenn Seaborg Learning Consortium and then went out and convinced twelve of the Bay Area’s top cultural institutions that this was an idea worth supporting; after Ann Merideth fired two different grant writers and locked herself in her office for several months to write the State grant application; after a hair raising day in Sacramento with presentations by Richard Whitmore, Roger Falcone, Gloria Duffy from the Commonwealth Club, and Elizabeth Stage from the Lawrence Hall of Science, where the Library Bond Board deliberated until late in the afternoon, never once mentioning the Lafayette grant application; after Assemblywoman Lois Wolk finally spoke up and said, “What about Lafayette? Wasn’t that the most innovative application we received?”; after Anne Grodin, on the drive home somewhere around Davis after winning the $11.9M State grant, said on a cell phone to a reporter, “We’re not driving, we’re FLYING home!”; after Wade Killefer and Barbara Flammang presented most elegant granite and teak concept to the Design Review Commission (and finally delivered the construction drawings); after the low bid was awarded to Lafayette’s own Jerry Overaa and Company; after Jerry said to the City Manager, “You couldn’t have designed a more complicated and difficult project to build”; after Gwenn Lennox and Kathy Merchant took over the fundraising and friendraising efforts, marshalling the forces of a thousand volunteers and treating the community to a dozen celebrity studded events; after the Friends of the Lafayette Library made the first major gift of $1M; after the Cronks and the Mulvaneys and the Lesher Foundation, and so many others made lead gifts that led the way toward a $14M fundraising effort; after Tony Coe and his amazing staff and project management crew kept pushing and prodding, checking and rechecking, and fixing problems on the fly; after Mayor Don Tatzin devoted a year of his life to help with the project, work with the tenants, and develop a sustainable financial plan for the building; after Linda Peterson suggested that we hire the Oakland Museum of California to manage the selection and manufacture of public art for the building; after the dimensions had to be recalculated, after the Community Hall floor buckled, after the first granite arrived with pink splotches and the new stuff had to be harvested and shipped from India; after Anne Cain and Susan Weaver and their hardworking librarian crews moved more than 50,000 books into the new building; after Rhonda Andronico and Rene Rogers planned what some people are saying was the best party they have ever been to; after tomorrow morning at 10AM, after Brian Goggin unveils his “Speechless” sculpture, the Lafayette Library and Learning Center will be open.

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