I obtained a copy of the original 1997 contract between the City of Glendale and Midwestern University. Nowhere in the document does it say the city must sell the land to Midwestern as a result of Midwestern’s offer to buy.

In 1997 the city used its Capital Improvement Fund to purchase 3.5 acres for $434,508.15 plus closing costs. I suspect the value of the land has probably doubled over the past 18 years with all of the development of the adjacent area. It is offering $5 million for the land and building.The agreement includes the following stipulations:

  • Should the city stop using the building as a library or wishes to sell the land and building Midwestern can exercise its first option within 120 days to buy the property and building at fair market value.
  • The city must build and operate a library on the site and for no other purpose.
  • The exterior landscaping must match that of Midwestern University and Midwestern was granted the right to review and approve/disapprove the design plan.
  • Midwestern has the right to use the library’s meeting rooms and auditorium without charge and will be provided a separate and private entrance.

What is clear is that Midwestern approached the city with an offer to buy the building and the land. This proposal was not a city initiative. The city does not have to sell to Midwestern. It can continue to operate the library on the property as long as it wishes.

Senior staff, for some unfathomable reason, is trying to put lipstick on this pig in order to sell the idea to the city council and the general public.

Since senior staff seems incapable of saying, “Hell no, we won’t go,” it will be up the citizens of Glendale to make clear that this is an idea that’s dead on arrival.

It is also the perfect time to tell the mayor and city council that as city finances improve, your priority to to restore days and hours to the libraries; to restore the cuts made to the city’s recreational programs; and to focus on the promised construction of the West Branch Library to serve over 30% of Glendale’s population that does not have the same convenient access to a Glendale library as do residents of Glendale’s other districts. Make your voices heard. Glendale’s elected officials occasionally need to be reminded that they represent you.

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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