Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The Rochester City Council Monday gave its tentative consensus to a funding request from the Public Library to help pay for its proposed expansion project.

Library Director Audrey Betcher briefed the council on the proposed project that has an estimated cost of $55 million. It would add 80,000 square feet to the library, including two additional floors and a larger theater.

conceptual plan for Rochester Public Library project

Betcher asked the council for a $35 million contribution. She told the council with its tentative approval, she can now meet with other potential donors. She will ask the Olmsted County Board to contribute $6.3 million and will seek $10.6 million in DMC funds. The rest would come from private sources.

Although the council gave its unofficial approval, it appears to be far from a done deal at this point. Some members expressed reservations about the city’s share and where the money would come from.  The council will revisit the issue at a later date.

The Council was also briefed Monday on the planned new city parking ramp that will serve the proposed Broadway at Center project.

proposed new parking ramp w/tower - design by Collaborative Design Group

The Council approved a request to proceed with a design for a three bay ramp that would add more parking spaces. And, bidders will be asked to include the costs to accommodate a possible housing complex or hotel on top of the east side of the ramp.

The Council was told a few developers have already expressed interest in such a plan and formal proposals may be sought in the near future.