The new owner of the former Manito branch library says he’d like to convert the building into a microbrewery.
But his chances of pouring suds where people once pored over books are dim, say Spokane School District 81 officials.
James Gimurtu bought the site last month for $301,000. He’d call the microbrewery The Library.
“I’m first trying to get the community (along East 30th) behind us,” Gimurtu said.
He faces two obstacles. First, he’d need a zone change from residential to light business.
He’d also probably need the approval of both the school district and nearby Manito Presbyterian Church before getting a license to sell beer.
The library building is next to the property line of Sacajawea Middle School.
Businesses applying for a liquor license need to provide a statement supporting or opposing the application from any church or school within 500 feet.
Spokane’s school administrators say they have no plans to change their policy of opposing all applications near their schools.
The Washington Liquor Control Board ultimately decides if a license is granted. Almost always, an objection from school officials dooms the applicant, a liquor board spokesman said.
Gimurtu said he should get a license if Bistro’s, a restaurant-pizzeria near Sacajawea, can also serve beer.
School officials said Bistro’s was operating before 1995, when the board adopted a policy of total opposition to alcohol use on or near school property.
“Since then, we have made no exceptions,” said Associate School Superintendent Walt Rulffes.
Gimurtu said if he can’t convert the library into a pub he’d likely lease it to another tenant.