With ballots showing up in mailboxes in anticipation of the April 22 $22 million library bond vote, momentum, say supporters, is building.
That’s good news for the Spokane County Library District, which has taken a different approach at getting a new main Valley branch built. In 2008, 55 percent of voters said “nay” to a new library at University City along with renovations to the Argonne branch and a new Greenacres library. While there had been some initial confusion at the results – Valley folks had almost always been voracious supporters of their libraries – many believed that the city of Spokane Valley’s plans to construct a city hall nearby (under the auspices of the larger, and quite controversial, Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan to create a downtown area at that spot) sunk the $33.4 million bond request.
With a new City Council, SARP a distant memory and a new city of Spokane Valley/SCLD partnership in the works, the board has been hopefully reset, supports say.
The Citizens for Valley Libraries – there seems to be no formal “vote no” camp – has been actively raising awareness for its “One Future, Two Votes, Three Projects” campaign. In a nutshell, the aging Spokane Valley Library at 12004 E. Main, would become an administration building. Voters will be asked to form a Spokane Valley Library Capital Facility Area, whereby voters who live in the SVLCFA boundaries would have the ability to fund the construction projects in that specific area.
The second vote would be for the actual $22 million bond, which would pay for a 30,000-square foot library at Sprague Avenue and Herald Road. It would also fund a new 10,000-square-foot facility on Conklin Road in Greenacres and a 6,000-square-foot expansion of the Argonne Road branch.
Both votes require a simple majority to pass.
Bond repayment would take place over 20 years at 14 cents per $1,000 in assessed property valuation and the owner of $150,000 home would pay $21 in 2014.
The city/SCLD partnership came about after library representatives told the council two years ago that the Pring Corporation was willing to sell 8.2 acres of land on the north side of Sprague at Herald to be developed as a site for a new library and an expanded Balfour Park to the east. After a series of negotiations and public meetings, the city bought the land for $2.5 million in October 2012.
The library board, in turn, OK’d the purchase of 2.5 acres of land for $877,206.
However, for the library to be built, both ballot questions must gain the approval of voters on April 22.
The area that would be included in the SVLCFA encompasses the cities of Spokane Valley and Millwood, along with unincorporated areas of in the Central Valley, West Valley and East Valley school districts. The city of Liberty Lake would be excluded, as it has its own library system.
If the vote passes in April, an architect would be hired to design the new library and construction would follow in 2015 for the new library on Sprague with an opening in 2016.
Construction of the Conklin Library would follow, and the expansion of the Argonne Library would come last with an anticipated 2017 completion date.
More information can be found at scld.org/about/2014-bond.