WICHITA — Office This developer Max Cole isn't giving up his dream of a progressive southeast library without a fight.
In September, Have You Heard? reported that Cole made an offer to the city to do a 60,000-square-foot library at the development in the former Wichita Mall at 4031 E. Harry. At the time, Cole said he would charge $5 a square foot and throw in an extra 20,000 square feet for storage.
This week, when Cole heard the Wichita City Council approved further study of a scaled-back central library at Second and McLean, he fired off a quick e-mail to director of libraries Cynthia Berner Harris.
"I thought the economic downturn would cause the Library Board to be more realistic about the Central Library plan," Cole wrote. "But I was wrong!"
He called the plan a "proposed book museum with computers in the downtown area."
"The plan is so out of touch, it's embarrassing," Cole wrote.
He copied the e-mail to several others, including District 3 City Council member James Clendenin.
"He doesn't pull any punches – ever," Clendenin says of Cole. "I was somewhat speechless at first."
He says he's not against Cole's proposal.
"What is the library of the future going to look like? I think Max has a really good idea of what that could look like."
Cole wrote that he’s proposing "a digital-age vocational library that is intended to close the achievement gap in Southeast Wichita, where it is most needed ... ."