Library Board votes to recommend to Seattle City Council to not proceed with Sand Point Opportunity Fund Project
The Seattle Public Library board of trustees voted to recommend to the Seattle City Council to not proceed with building a branch library in Sand Point. The Library Board made its unanimous recommendation at its Dec. 20 meeting after discussing the issue at its Operations Committee meeting on Dec. 8.
Building a new branch library in Sand Point was not part of the original 1998 voter-approved "Libraries for All" building program. To address new neighborhood needs as they arose over the next decade, the $196.4 million bond measure for new and improved libraries included a $6 million "Opportunity Fund." In April 2000, Citizens for a Library at Sand Point proposed using Opportunity Fund money for a full-service library in Magnuson Park.
The proposal was recommended by the Citizen Implementation Review Panel (CIRP) overseeing the bond measure, and reviewed by the Library Board. The City Council approved $1.4 million in Opportunity Funds for the project.
The Library Board cited the following factors for making its recommendation:
- The $1.4 million budgeted for the project was not enough to buy property or renovate an existing building in Magnuson Park.
- Even if the $1.4 million were sufficient for the capital plan the Library does not have the resources in its budget to cover the ongoing costs to operate the branch.
- The capacity for library service in North Seattle has significantly increased with the addition of new and expanded branches, which gives Sand Point residents access to other strong options for nearby library service. The new 10,000-square-foot Northgate Branch, the new 5,652-square-foot Montlake Branch, the doubling in size of the North East Branch and the two-thirds larger Lake City Branch have added more than 28,000 square feet of service area.
At a community meeting in March it was clear that the $1.4 million budgeted for the project was not enough. There also was concern that Initiative 42 restricted the conversion of park land to another use unless it could be replaced in kind. After the meeting the Library Board decided to finish the remaining LFA branch projects before making a determination on Sand Point. The LFA program is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2007.
At their Dec. 20 meeting, Library Board members thanked the Citizen Implementation Review Panel for its leadership on the issue. In October, CIRP asked the Library Board to further explain the challenges to the Sand Point community. In preparation, the board reviewed the logic behind the timing of determining a direction, and agreed it would be postponing the inevitable to wait to finish the remaining LFA projects before making a recommendation.
Prior to the board meeting, CIRP voted 11-1 on Dec. 5 to support the Library Board's intended recommendation to the City Council not to proceed with the branch.
If the City Council approves the Library Board's recommendation, the $1.4 million could be used for other Opportunity Fund projects.
For more information contact:
Andra Addison, communications director
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