The Moorhead Public Library, in conjunction with the City of Moorhead, is exploring options for a new library, which may be housed in a combined Library/Community Center. The goal is to build a new library facility in a vibrant, visible location, providing a welcoming space for Moorhead residents to attend programs, events, and meetings, and find abundant opportunities for lifelong learning, civic engagement and creative pursuits.
Why Does Moorhead Need A New Library?
The Moorhead Public Library has served the community for over a century and has been located downtown at 118 Fifth Street South since 1962, with an expansion in 1988. The current facility is facing structural problems in addition to inadequate space to meet community needs, issues which were illustrated by a Community Needs Assessment which was conducted in 2021.
Moorhead’s half-cent sales tax garners overwhelming support in early results – The Fargo Forum
Moorhead voters approve sales tax bump to fund community center and library – KFGO
Moorhead library to hold informational sessions on new library, community center project – The Fargo Forum
The Community’s Living Room – FM Extra
Forum Editorial: Half-cent sales tax increases in Moorhead and West Fargo pay for needed improvements – The Fargo Forum
First look – community center & library – FM Extra
Moorhead presents funding campaign, renderings of new library, community center – The Fargo Forum
Downtown Moorhead Development to transform Center Mall area, revitalize city center over next 5 years – The Fargo Forum
A New Chapter -The FM Extra
New year brings new possibilities for Moorhead – KVRR
Moorhead City Council seeks vote on library, community center – KVRR
New Moorhead library, community center headed to November ballot – The Fargo Forum
Project Background and Progress
In 2017 The City of Moorhead commissioned a Facilities Condition Assessment of all city-owned facilities. This study, which appraised the current condition of all city-owned facilities, notes several inadequacies of the current library facility including HVAC, plumbing and lighting.
The City Council kickstarted the process to establish a half-cent local sales tax. That measure would fund a mixed-use civic building anchored by a new public library and community center.
In order to prepare for this process, the library partnered with Library Strategies Consulting Group to conduct a broad-based community needs assessment, which included a professional analysis of the current facility’s physical limitations and other shortcomings hampering the library’s day-to-day operations and effectiveness.
As part of the Community Needs Assessment, the Library Strategies Consulting Group conducted a community survey to gather public input and help the library guide its services, programs and other priorities for the coming years.
Mayor Shelly Carlson appointed an 11-member force to further study and possibility of a new downtown library and community center. The task force is currently working on developing conceptual ideas for the project along with a vision for the new facility.
The City Council voted unanimously in favor of placing the question of a half-cent sales tax to fund a regional library and community center on the November 8, 2022 election ballot.
On November 8, 2022, Moorhead voters approved a 0.5% local option sales tax that will be used to fund a new Community Center/Public Library. The final vote was 8,782 (64.37%) to 4,861 (35.63%).
Construction plans and timeline will now be developed under the direction of the City of Moorhead, the Moorhead City Council and the Mayor's Task Force, including hiring design professionals, identifying a precise location and budgeting amenities.
Moorhead merchants and retailers will begin collecting the 0.5% city sales tax on April 1, 2023 (total sales tax of 7.875%, which includes the new tax). The new tax is projected to yield $1.6 million or more per year dedicated to construction of the community center/public library project. The city sales tax is projected to cost each Moorhead resident about $2 per month.
The process to select a design professional is under way, and the Request for Qualifications for Architectural/Engineering Design Services for Moorhead Community Center/Public Library is accepting submissions. Interested parties can review the Request for Qualifications for full details and email any questions to LibraryCC@moorheadmn.gov.