Farley City Council members will discuss potential options for a new library after hearing top site options selected by the community.

The council last week heard the results of FEH Design-led community input meetings and an online survey. Now, council members can take the results into consideration as they outline the city’s budget.

“They will be doing some budgeting in the next several weeks,” said Mayor Jeff Simon. “That’s their prerogative to put something together. It’s a long process, but this is the time of year to think about it and consider it.” The input meetings and survey were put together through an agreement between the city and FEH Design to explore options for various downtown amenities, including a new library. The Farley branch of the Dubuque County Library District at Drexler Middle School closed July 31 after the Western Dubuque Community School Board rescinded the agreement for the library to operate there.

In the community input meetings, the top choice for a new library site was the lumberyard space near First Street North, between the railroad tracks and Dirty Ernie’s bar. FEH Design staff estimated that a library project there would cost about $3.25 million if the project went out to bid in 2023.

Following the community meetings, a communitywide survey was issued to gather additional input.

Kevin Eipperle, FEH Design vice president and architect, said 175 people responded to the survey in the first two and a half weeks.

Of those, 162 people voiced their opinion on a prospective library site, and the lumberyard location again emerged as the top option, receiving 41% of votes.

The survey also asked what level of annual investment people would support in the form of a property tax increase per $100,000 of property value. Of the 120 responses to the question, the average amount was $61. During this week’s meeting, City Council Member Joe Erion asked FEH Design staff how the survey response rate compares to similar ones done in other communities. “Right now, I’m computing our rate at about 9% (of the total Farley population),” Erion said. “How can we extract this information and ensure it represents all of our community?”

Eipperle noted that the level of support for site options has not changed as the number of survey respondents increased, indicating most people in the community would like the lumberyard site. He added that a new library still could take several years to come to fruition as various funding sources are sought. “Every time we do a library, funding comes from 1,000 different sources,” he said. “... You’re probably looking at a minimum of three years from now until you’re totally done. That’s pretty typical. It all comes down to the funding.”

Those still wishing to take the survey can do so at surveymonkey.com/r/Farleysurvey.