September 21, 2013 in Washington Voices

Library hinges on bond vote

District wants to build new facilities
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Residents in the Spokane Valley area may get to decide as soon as April if a new Spokane Valley Library will be built on the corner of Herald Road and Sprague Avenue.

When the Spokane County Library District first approached the city of Spokane Valley about jointly purchasing and developing the land at Sprague and Herald, they anticipated running a countywide construction bond in 2015 to pay for a new library branch. Now the board of trustees is set to approve creating a Library Capital Facilities District in the Spokane Valley area and putting a bond for local projects on the ballot in April.

The city is in charge of developing the expansion of Balfour Park on the site while the library district needs to come up with the money to build a new library branch.

Spokane County Library District Director Nancy Ledeboer said the original plan was to ask for $50 million that would pay for improvements at every library in the county as well as a new Spokane Valley branch and a library on land the district owns on Conklin Road a block south of Sprague.

“Our most pressing need is the Valley because this area has grown so much,” she said. “People tend to identify more locally with the libraries they use.”

Instead, the trustees are looking at requesting $20 to $24 million from Valley-area residents for a new 30,000-square-foot Spokane Valley branch, a new 15,000-square-foot neighborhood library on Conklin and a 7,000-square-foot expansion of the Argonne Library. The price includes everything from architect fees to furniture.

“We were very conservative,” Ledeboer said of the cost estimate. “The board is ready to move forward.”

The cost of the bond would be between 12 and 16 cents per $1,000 in assessed home value, for 20 years. The board of trustees will set the exact bond amount at its Oct. 15 meeting.

In order to create the capital facilities district, the library needs to get the Millwood and Spokane Valley city councils to pass resolutions approving the district, Ledeboer said.

The capital facilities district boundaries would include residents inside the borders of the East Valley, West Valley and Central Valley school districts, except the portions of West Valley that are inside the Spokane city limits and the portion of Central Valley that includes Liberty Lake. Only those residents would see the bond issue on their April ballot.

While the shape and placement of the library were part of the discussion during the design process for the Balfour Park expansion, no design work has been done.

“Until we have the money, we’re not even going to begin the design of the building,” Ledeboer said. “Some people think we already have the money.”

Ledeboer is hopeful that the bond will be successful and said she’s heard from a lot of people who are eager to see a new library in Spokane Valley. “People are excited to think that something is happening,” she said. “My sense is that people are very positive and they think it’s time something was done.”

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