The Cabin Calls Foul Over City Council's Handling of Library, Relocation 

"...The City is not making a good-faith effort to negotiate a solution that protects our organization."

In an email blast, The Cabin Executive Director Kurt Zwolfer expressed frustration with an upcoming public hearing, at which the Boise City Council will hear from constituents about plans to construct a new main branch library—a plan that would likely relocate the historic structure that houses the literary center.

"...The City is not making a good-faith effort to negotiate a solution that protects our organization," he wrote.

Earlier this week, the City Council announced it would host a hearing in the City Council chambers on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at which it would collect public testimony on its plan to build a new library on the side of its current main branch, but in the email, Zwolfer said his organization "heard about this public hearing likely when you did"—in the news media and over Boise City Council President Lauren McLean's email newsletter.

Zwolfer went on to write that the City of Boise has not been in contact with The Cabin for well over a month, even as plans for the new library—and a robust public conversation about it—have proceeded.

In May of 2018, The Cabin learned that the initial plans for the library, drafted by architect Moshe Safdie, did not include The Cabin at its current site. Zwolfer wrote that he and his staff adopted a "pragmatic" approach, in which it would acquiesce to the relocation of its facilities to "a safe and tranquil environment for our young writers to pursue their art." The Cabin's first choice—a maintenance yard on the northern edge of Julia Davis Park—was nixed, as the City Council determined the area had high development potential. Other sites were floated, but few of them were deemed suitable by The Cabin's board of directors.

Then, in January of this year, the city communicated to The Cabin about the possibility of it remaining at its current location, which could soon be the site of major construction activities, as well as some options for relocation. Since then, Zwolfer wrote, his organization has not had any clear sense of what the city intends for the current space where The Cabin sits, or what other spots may be available. The news that the council had scheduled a public hearing on the future location of The Cabin without consultation prompted Zwolfer to call on the public to press for the relocation of the structure to a spot near the Children's Cancer Pavilion in Julia Davis Park.

"Because the city leadership has not provided us with any written assurances that the library will be redesigned to accommodate us, we will be advocating for a move to the east end of the park," Zwolfer wrote.

In a statement, City Council Spokesman Mike Journee said, "We understand the frustration. The situation has been quite fluid. We're working really hard to find the right balance between building a new, first-class library for our community, preserve the integrity of the structure of the log cabin at the same time, and create an environment for the Log Cabin literary organization to thrive. We're working toward all those goals, and we do understand that the situation can cause some frustration."
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