Brown County weighs library options as East Town project waits for decision

Brown County is deciding whether it wants to pursue an expansion at its current east branch location on Main Street or move to space in the East Town Mall. (Photo Credit: WLUK)

UPDATE: Find the feasibility study here.


GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A recently completed feasibility study is shedding new light on the future of Brown County’s East Branch Library.

Brown County is currently weighing two options: stay put in its Main Street location or move around the corner to the East Town Mall.

“We're trying to do our part in finding the right spot for the library,” said Brian Simons, Brown County Library’s executive director.

A $66,000 study outlined the possibilities for both locations.

For the current location, the study looked at more than doubling its current 6,000 square foot space by taking over the space currently occupied by its neighbor, Gnome Games.

“People have been going there for 30 years, so I think that's one thing and all you have to do is bump through that wall and you have double your space,” said David Lang of HGA Architects, who conducted the study.

The East Town option would take over the space that used to be home to the Budget Cinema.

“There is three theatres in that location, so to make them destinations for the community, we could be creative with how we do that,” said Lang.

The East Town space is larger at 27,325 square feet compared to the expanded Main Street location, which would be 18,230 square feet.

The renovation price tag is more for East Town -- at $5.6 million compared to $4.2 million for the current location. However, if the current location is chosen, the county would likely try to purchase the building for somewhere around $1 million.

“The other variable is what is the county board willing to support,” said Simons. “Would they be willing to support a lot more money per year for rent or would they more likely support with that amount just purchasing and owning.”

There is no deadline for when a library location decision will be made.

Green Bay city leaders are awaiting the county's decision. That's because the new owner of East Town has proposed a redevelopment plan that is contingent on the library moving in.

“We have to do what's right for the library,” said Simons.

The East Town Mall proposal calls for transforming the traditional mall into more of a strip mall. The developer is still working to find businesses willing and able to move in.

Also of note, construction is supposed to start in June for putting four mid-sized retailers into the old Cub Foods building next door.

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