Downtown Mesa will become home to the Barry and Peggy Goldwater Library and Archives under a formal announcement made Wednesday by the Goldwater family and city officials.
The library will be constructed using private funds on land owned by the city at the southeast corner of Macdonald and First Avenue. The city and library board will work out an agreement for the land, officials said Wednesday.
One of Arizona’s most historic political figures, Barry Goldwater was born in Phoenix in 1909. He represented the state in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. In 1964, he was the Republican nominee for president, a race he lost to Lyndon Johnson, who had succeeded President John F. Kennedy.
Goldwater’s political beliefs are said to have pushed through a new path for the conservative movement in the country and are carried on today through “Goldwater Republicans” who believe in small government.
The Barry and Peggy Goldwater Library and Archives will include books, photographs and manuscripts owned by the senator, as well as policy papers from of the Arizona Congressional Delegation, according to a release.
“It is quite an honor for my family to see the Barry and Peggy Goldwater Library and Archives locate in downtown Mesa and become a step closer to reality,” Michael Goldwater said. “Not only will it preserve and tell the story of my father’s life and career, but it honors his commitment to ‘collect, preserve and disseminate’ the history of Arizona and the United States.”
Peggy Goldwater Clay and Michael Goldwater were both at the announcement Wednesday.
The library will be noted as a Center of the Study of Congress and as such may put visiting exhibits on display from presidential libraries and other Centers for the Study of Congress, including the Carl Albert Center at the University of Oklahoma and the Robert Byrd Center for Legislative Studies at Shepherd University.
“Having the Goldwater Library and Archives in our downtown is a tremendous honor for Mesa,” Mayor Scott Smith said. “The combination of the Library, the new colleges and universities, along with the light rail extension will create incredible opportunities for both Mesa and Arizona.”
Smith noted the city has worked for a while to bring the library to downtown, with hopes to open it in 2016. As many as 60,000 people are expected to visit the library each year, Smith said.
“The thing is not only the number of people, but the type of people, the quality of people we expect to attract to this facility is phenomenal. We expect scholars from not only the state and not only the country, but from around and over the world, to join in events at the library … There’s no doubt the Goldwater Library brings a certain level of class that will elevate all of us,” Smith said.
The plans are to build an LEED certified building, a mark of the United States Green Building Council Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design. A reading room and café will be included in the three-story, 40,000 square foot building.
For more information about the BPGLA, visit https://barrygoldwaterlibrary.org/.
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