Scott County Library Administrative Services will vacate the space it leases at the Savage Library at the beginning of September, and contractors will begin remodeling for the new tenants that will occupy the space in October: the Savage Social Club and Savage Arts Council.
The loss of $20,000 to $30,000 in annual lease revenue from Scott County Library Administrative Services — which has operated all eight libraries out of the Savage Library location for the last 16 years — will be a hit to the city.
“The city owns the building, maintains it and pays all of the utilities,” said Mayor Janet Williams. “The county pays for the library operations, furnishings and provides the staff.”
But city officials agreed that instead of looking for another entity to lease the space for a fee, it would allow the Savage Social Club and Savage Arts Council to lease the space for free.
While the Scott County Administrative Services operations will move to its new location in the Scott County Transit Center building just off of Highway 169 at Marschall Road in Shakopee, the Savage Library operations will remain in place with no anticipated changes.
Currently, the Savage Social Club meets Tuesday mornings at the McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center. Because the facility is often leased out for special events, the group is required to put out tables and chairs before each weekly event, then put everything away again.
Club members have shared the responsibility of opening up the McColl Pond ELC for weekly meetings, and for set up and clean up duties. They’ve also received assistance from the city parks department staff.
Savage has no “senior center” of its own, and the Savage Social Club was organized in 2011 by a core group of 10 individuals who requested that the city provide space — free of charge — for weekly meetings.
Sometimes they play cards, sometimes they review books and once a month they have a speaker from the community come to a meeting. So, having a dedicated space at the library will offer a sense of home for the members.
“I enjoy the fellowship,” said club member Dick Blom. “These guys tell great stories.”
Club member Ann Klein said that her peers enjoy the idea of a place that is theirs. “Before, people who wanted to do senior activities had to go to Prior Lake, Burnsville or Shakopee,” she said.
The Savage Arts Council will share the space with the Savage Social Club. The Savage Arts Council meets the fourth Thursday of each month in a City Hall meeting room, and art classes were previously held in conjunction with the business, Savage Art Studios and Gallery in downtown Savage, which closed in December of 2012.
“Savage Arts Council is pleased to have a place to call home in the Savage Public Library Building beginning fall of 2013 to begin offering cultural art events, and visual and literary art classes to students of all ages and abilities,” the group posted on its Facebook page.
The two nonprofit entities will share the library space, which is approximately 2,030 square feet and includes two offices, a small meeting room and a large meeting room.
Basic improvements to the space will include removing a small storage room, adding storage cabinets near the garage area, adding a utility sink in the mechanical room for washing out paint brushes, and the addition of eight rolling and folding tables and 60 chairs. A kitchen area will be shared with Savage Library staff.
The City Council has budgeted $15,000 to pay for the improvements — funds that will come from a Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) grant received last fall.
During a work session in early August, Council member Gene Abbott questioned whether other groups will be able to use the space.
City Administrator Barry Stock suggested that there could be special events in the space under the umbrella of the Savage Social Club and Savage Arts Council.
“And there are two media rooms in the Library that anyone can use,” said Williams, addressing the issue of other groups who might want to use this new space.
Stock said that opening up the Social Club and Arts Council space to other groups could become a scheduling nightmare. “We don’t want to turn this into a labor intensive staff thing,” he said.
City staff will prepare a lease agreement between the city and the two entities, which will outline the roles and responsibilities of each group. The agreement will be brought before the City Council at a future meeting for final approval.