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Arizona Coyotes subsidy prompts proposed sale of Glendale library branch

The city of Glendale pays $15 million each year to subsidize the Arizona Coyotes, and the West Valley town is looking for ways to make up for such a big hit to its budget.

The Phoenix Business Journal reports the city has a proposal to sell one of its library branches to Midwestern University — a health-care-focused institution in the northern part of town — for $5 million.

Glendale is holding public meetings this week on the potential sale of the library at Union Hills Drive and 59th Avenue, and the city is reportedly receiving some blowback from some residents over the plan.

If the sale goes through, Midwestern would buy the Foothills Branch Library, and the city would move the items to a nearby aquatics and recreation center that is less than one-third of the size. Some of the public art in the Foothills library would also be part of the sale.

The Foothills branch currently hold 175,000 books, videos and other items, but a move to the smaller facility would shrink the collection down to about 35,000 items. Some of the excess books would go to two other Glendale branches, and others might be donated.

Glendale has been looking at selling off properties and other assets as it tries to solve its financial troubles. City officials said Midwestern approached the city about buying the Foothills branch and has offered $5 million cash. There would still be some public access to the library if it is sold to the school.

A Facebook page has been established to draw support of keeping the library in its current building.

The Glendale City Council approved an arena deal in 2013 to keep the Coyotes in town by paying the hockey club $15 million a year over a 15-year period. The city also has to spend $500,000 annually on capital improvements on Gila River Arena, which was called Arena at the time of the deal with Glendale.

The city does get a portion of ticket and events fees and naming rights revenue from the arena it built and financed in 2003.

Glendale also has to account for debt caused by the construction of the Camelback Ranch ballpark for the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the city is also obligated to build a new parking garage at Westgate Entertainment District as part of a deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

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