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Letter: Library Redesign Looks Good on Surface, But Watchdog Needed

Concerned citizens behind Save the Cedar River Library - Again! say they're heartened by design changes to the Cedar River Library but urge the public to stay involved over key issues.

Monday night, April 29, our City Council chose to accept KCLS’ incomplete schematic materials for the 19,500 sft building concept.

On the surface it sounds good, and one could think we’ve gained more than we’ve lost. While we celebrate gains, there are concerns that need to be closely watched to ensure taxpayers get everything and more for their tax increases. 

Possible Gains: 

  • Keep the library over the Cedar River
  • Get a library larger than the smaller version KCLS wanted
  • Get an audit of KCLS’ Project Budget and Project Expenditures 

Concerns:

  • The Council's recommendation to KCLS to try to have an entrance on the bridge is not the same as insisting it must be there and schematic design is still incomplete at this point.
  • KCLS could still promote a smaller building.  The incomplete schematics lacked structural information that new concept elements are feasible.
  • The estimated budget has 39.5% in markups and contingencies, leaving potential for misuse.  This needs to be audited continuously to ensure tax payers get the maximum library possible.
  • The ILA contract between KCLS and the City of Renton calls for specific actions and information. The City Council and Administration chose to act outside of the contractual agreement that provides needed financial protectiion.
  • City Administration continues to email critical documents at 5 p.m. on Friday for a decision on Monday. Our City Council lacks time to be well-informed before they act.
  • City Administration promotes making critical decisions without the City Attorney having read materials to provide advice.

Thank you, Renton residents, for speaking up. We would not have made the gains we have without your help and involvement. Hopefully with ongoing auditing, KCLS and Miller-Hull will produce the library we all envision on time and within budget. Keep this process in mind when election time comes. Elections provide the opportunity to change who represents and advocates for Renton citizens.

Richard Bray May 10, 2013 at 05:00 AM
The City Council recommended to KCLS that a Library Entrance over the Cedar River be kept. I look forward to KCLS acting upon this recommendation about what our community has asked for all along--a library that we can be proud of.

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