The Fergus Falls Daily Journal reported the other day that library traffic is up in every way, from visitor count to the number of people enrolled in various programs. While part of this increase can be attributed to pick-up from summer traffic, libraries have always seen a boom during tough financial times. The catch is that there are fewer dollars available for library, and other recreational programs, funding. Although the library in Fergus Falls will stay open, it and many other libraries across the state must consider ways to save money, such as cutting staff and shortening library hours.
On a more somber note, Burnsville’s Lake Alimagnet Center for the Arts, which has been open since the 1980s, will close its doors. This leaves the Burnsville Visual Arts Society, the Minnesota Valley Photography Club, the Chameleon Theatre Circle, and the Dakota Valley Symphony without homes. According to Stefanie Briggs of the MN Sun Newspapers,
The closing resulted from city budget cuts. The city is set to save $25,000 by no longer providing part-time staff support, utilities and maintenance to LACA. There are no future plans to use the building unless the city is able to find a tenant that can provide more market value rent to use the space, said JJ Ryan, the city’s recreation manager.
What was once a communal gathering of different artists must now be split up in order for the various organizations to find homes. This is not an unique situation. Many parks, recreational programs, libraries, and beaches are feeling the pressure to cut all over Minnesota. For a map tracking parks and recreation cuts in Minnesota, head over to Defend Minnesota. While you’re there, make sure to sign the petition sending a message to the Governor and his allies.