I am intrigued by the inclusion of an underground parking garage in the plans for the proposed new downtown library.

The latest figures say this would increase the cost of the project from $19 million to $21.4 million.

There has been little discussion about who would have access to these parking spaces. I doubt they will be reserved for library patrons.

Perhaps the parking spaces would be assigned to elected officials occupying nearby city-parish buildings: the mayor-president, sheriff, assessor, clerk of court, district attorney, 21 judges, 12 council members and a few more spaces for key department heads.

Maybe library patrons will get lucky.

The cost of this underground project also deserves a closer look.

Forty-six parking places, at an added cost of $2.4 million.

That works out to a bit more than $52,000 per parking space.

Outrageous?

No more so than tearing down the present downtown library and spending $19 million to replace it with a larger one based on the premise, “If you build it, they will come.”

Gerald Moses

retired journalist

Baton Rouge