New Albany Park Library cost $15 million in taxes.
Chicago's new 16,300 square foot Albany Park Library cost $15 million in local taxes to build. Could we have built three Chicago libraries identical to this one for that price? The nearby Griffith Calumet Library in Lake County, Indiana, opened in 2013 is also 16,000 sq ft. Both libraries are in the Chicago metropolitan area, are brick construction, used union labor, and have many similar features.
However, Griffith Calumet only cost $3.9 million. That's $11 million less than Albany Park.
Albany Park spent a total of about $871/per square foot for its library project while Griffith Calumet only cost a total of about $242/square foot. Compare this to Chicago's Trump Tower which was financed at about $331/sq ft. in 2009. In recent years libraries the size of Albany Park Library were constructed in Michigan, Illinois and Texas for $3-$4 million each.
When citizens asked to have solar panels installed on our libary's flat, sunny roof,the Public Building Commission denied the request as "too expensive." Meanwhile, the Public Building Commission is billing Chicagoans over $1.4 million to manage the Albany Park Library project. Project managers at Griffith Calumet only charged $168,000.
Could Chicago have used a few million dollars for our schools, policemen, pension funding, mental health clinics and still had our new library? Instead we only got one library for $15 million and a claim that the city is "broke."
Alderman Margaret Laurino has been unable to explain the high cost of the Albany Park Library built in her ward. The Public Building Commission was unable to answer the same question when put to their audit committee and public affairs director.
Maybe graft is written into the price?
Kathryn Pensack, spokesperson, Albany Park Library Committee