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Plans unveiled to build new library in downtown Omaha

Design of a new library in downtown Omaha. (Courtesy of Tetrad Property Group)

There's now talk of a new library coming to downtown Omaha.

It's a proposal Mayor Jean Stothert says she's been working on for a while.

If approved, the W. Dale Clark Library would be sold and then a new building would go where the Civic Auditorium used to be.

Kyle O’Reilly said, "We both love the library and we really want to see it continue to grow, and do great in this city because he's a big fan.”

O'Reilly and his son, Rory, are ready for a new place to read books.

O’Reilly said, "The architecture here is kind of like brutal and a bit outdated I would say by this point."

Amy Clark feels that "the computer areas are limited...this building is good. New buildings for libraries are always great."

Mayor Stothert agrees. She wants to put a new library where the Civic Auditorium used to be.

Stothert said, "We like that site because it has easy access from the interstate. It's close to Central High. It's close to Creighton University."

It's a $200 million project that she says would be more than just a library.

Stothert said, "It's going to be a true mixed-used development. It will have office, it'll have retail, it'll have residential in it."

Library board members say they're working right now to find good locations for more libraries.

At a debate last week Heath Mello said, "I don't believe we can be just coming up with ideas of how we want to build a new library downtown or anywhere else until we see this master plan first...particularly in the western end of our city they have consistently told me in knocking doors that they need library services now more than ever."

FOX 42 News reached out to Mello three times from Wednesday to Thursday to do an interview. His campaign staff said he didn't have time.

Demolition of the Civic Auditorium is done and the mayor says if everything is approved with the plan construction of the new library could start next spring.

Stothert says developers of the Civic Auditorium made their applications to the planning board. Their first designs will be presented to the board next month.

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