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Library bond returns, without ‘ballot confusion’

Margy Motsinger of the Spokane Valley Library tells a flannel graph story as toddler Keton Wiliams, 18 months, tries to get a close-up look at the story pieces Monday during story time. Story and play time at the library is one of many services at the library. (Jesse Tinsley)
Margy Motsinger of the Spokane Valley Library tells a flannel graph story as toddler Keton Wiliams, 18 months, tries to get a close-up look at the story pieces Monday during story time. Story and play time at the library is one of many services at the library. (Jesse Tinsley)

There’s a little free library sitting in an empty lot off Sprague Avenue and Dartmouth Road. It’s been there since last year, at the site where the Spokane County Library District would like to build a new library – if voters will approve a bond to fund it.

The district had two propositions on last year’s ballot: Proposition 1, to create a Spokane Valley Library Capital Facility Area – which passed – and Proposition 2, to allow for taxation in that facility area. Proposition 2 needed 60 percent plus one to pass, but garnered only 55 percent of the vote.

“So we have the facility area, but we don’t have any funding,” said Jane Baker, communications and development officer for the Spokane County Library District. “We are trying again to get the funding.”

“There was some ballot confusion, we think,” Baker said. “This time there’s just the bond on the ballot.”

The district is seeking $22 million for four projects in Spokane Valley and Millwood. That breaks down to 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or about $22 for a $200,000 home, every year for 20 years.

That’s a bit less than last year’s bond, which came in at 14 cents per $1,000 assessed value.

Baker said the bond would more than double the total library space in the Spokane Valley area.

The bond would pay for:

• A new 30,000-square-foot library to be built on the lot on Sprague Avenue, across the street from the new city hall and next to Balfour Park, which the city is planning on expanding.

• A new 10,000-square-foot library on Conklin Road, which will serve the Veradale and Greenacres areas where the population is growing.

• A 6,000-square-foot expansion of public space at the Argonne Library.

• A repurposing of the 60-year-old Spokane Valley Library on Main Avenue.

“That building really needs a little help,” Baker said. “When it rains, everyone runs for plastic – it leaks, it floods, it is just old.”

If the bond passes, then the main library will be the new one on Sprague Avenue. The current Valley Library on Main Avenue will become the new home of the administration. The building also would house a technology center, conference rooms and a “browsing collection” of new books.

Relocating the administrative offices allows for the expansion of public space at the Argonne Library.

“We would see a doubling of the library space in Spokane Valley,” Baker said.

Baker points out that Spokane Valley’s population has doubled since the library was built. Nearly 900 people visit every day.

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