In response to the .
I would like to comment and say a few words. If voters choose the existing location "Over the Cedar River" on Aug. 7th, the city will invest over 10 Million dollars of "bugeted" funds to completely renovate and modernize the existing building, bringing it up to "Current State of the Art" standards and condition. It will be essentially "NEW", modern, and will have all the infrastructure and upgrades that KCLS flagship libraries are known for. The notion that it will remain the same is false and misleading. The biggest difference between the "NEW" library at the West Piazza, and the "NEW" library over the Cedar River will be size, access, and usability. The Cedar River location is 50% larger by square foot than the W.Piazza proposed location. At a cost per/square foot, the reconstruction will cost 32.9% less. The Cedar River location has more than 65 off-street parking spaces, eliminating the need to park a block away in a parking garage, or drive around downtown trying to find on-street parking. It is served by major bus routes curb-side, and intersects with major arterials. Liberty Park, the Cedar River Trail, Renton History Museum, and the Renton Community Center add tremendous value to the Cedar River Library site, providing families with extended opportunities for recreation and education.
Mr. McCammon's statement, "Allows a building to be made that will fit the needs of library users, not the users fit the building" makes no sense. What do you think library users need that a renovated Cedar River location could not provide? Do users need easy parking? Do they need more space for children reading programs, or community meeting rooms? Do they need other recreational opportunities, family friendly spaces, and surrounding that provide environmental and ecological learning opportunities? I would say the W.Piazza location is being proposed for no better reason then to try and get more bodies to the central downtown area where the downtown retailer are hopeful for shoppers. It is also been said the city hopes with more people downtown, that crime activity might be reduced. So the proposed W.Piazza site is really an attempt to curb crime and increase retail sales for merchants. Libraries should not be used as pawns for addressing failed civic and public works projects. The downtown retailers and Renton's King County library users deserve better solutions and not on the backs of the library users.
The "Real Cost" to Renton tax payers comes when a vacated Cedar River Library MUST then be re-purposed for "alternate public use". The re-purposing costs are expected to be as much as building a new library essentially doubling the final cost of moving to the smaller proposed W. Piazza location. If it will cost over 10 million dollars to renovate and modernize the existing Cedar River Library structure, then it will cost equally as much to renovate and modernize it for any alternate use. This is a smoke and mirrors tactic by W.Piazza library proponents and the city administration. You can't have two buildings for the price of one. All of the estimates, and permitting to build one, would come into play for building the other. The most reasonable, sensible conclusion is to make what we have better and leave it where it is. That eliminates any need for re-purposing and the additional millions that will be required to accomplish it. The annexation to KCLS shouldn't come with the penalty of less library, and higher taxes. Renton needs and deserves nothing less than a Flagship modern library over the Cedar River. There really is no better place than where it is now, and I think it's time we hold City Hall to a higher standard of stewardship of our tax dollars.
And finally, does Mr. McCammon really think that we should move the library so that we can post the winner of the duck race on the front door of the existing building? I'd sure hate to lose that benefit.
—Stuart Avery, Renton