Two items on the Nov. 6 ballot related to the Ann Arbor District Library: a $65 million bond proposal for construction of a new downtown library, and the election of four positions on the AADL board of trustees.
The $65 million, 30-year bond proposal was rejected, gaining support from 33,604 voters (44.83%), with 41,359 votes (55.17%) cast against it. Support inside the city of Ann Arbor was slightly stronger, with 46.4% voting for the proposal compared with 41.2% voting for it outside the city. In addition to the city of Ann Arbor, the district includes parts of the townships of Pittsfield, Scio, Ann Arbor, Lodi, Webster, Salem and Superior.
The funds would have paid for the demolition of the existing library at 343 S. Fifth and the construction of a new building on that same site. Four campaign committees had formed, including three that opposed the project: Protect Our Libraries, Save the Ann Arbor Library and LOL=Love Our Library. The Our New Downtown Library campaign led by Ellie Serras supported the proposal.
In the nonpartisan AADL board elections, five candidates contested four open seats for four-year terms. The top four vote-getters were all incumbents: Nancy Kaplan (30,508 votes – 23.14%); Margaret Leary (28,060 votes – 21.29%); Rebecca Head (26,827 votes – 20.35%); and Pru Rosenthal (23,498 votes – 17.82%). Challenger Lyn Davidge received 21,670 votes (16.44%). Outside the city of Ann Arbor, Davidge and Rosenthal finished in nearly a dead heat, with Davidge receiving 6,800 votes compared to 6,839 for Rosenthal.
The board has said that the current downtown building needs major repairs. Options they’ll likely consider include placing another proposal on a future ballot to pay for renovations or a scaled-back project. The AADL board’s next meeting is on Monday, Nov. 19.