Renton's contentious library debate is about to come to a close.
King County Elections mailed primary election ballots on Wednesday, July 18, the same day as the Seattle-King County League of Women Voters (LWV) hosted a voters forum in Renton about "Prop. 1," or the vote that will determine the future location of the downtown Renton library. Ballots are due August 7, 2012.
Despite the heated debate, tempers remained cool on both sides.
A little humor and a lighthearted touch from moderator Julie Anne Kempf helped guide panelists through a series of 10 questions including, "Does size matter."
Kempf's question related to overall library size — a hot topic over the last few months — but also to the makeup of the space inside the new library.
Prior to the meeting Kempe explained that the LWV chose to host the forum at the Cedar River Library site out of necessity.
"We decided that the pros and cons were equivalent," she said, adding, "There are not a lot of medium sized meeting rooms available in Renton."
Most meeting rooms are under 30 people or for 300 or more, she said.
"Everything is either small and intimate or large and spacious," she said adding she hopes the medium-sized meeting room issue is taken into account regardless of where the new library is located.
Forty people turned out for Wednesday's forum in addition to five panelists.
Patch was there and caught it all on tape for our readers who could not make it. Click the links below to view panelists' responses to the 11 questions asked by the LWV and a final 90-second wrap up "elevator speech" from each side.
- Please give us an overview of your preferred library site, how your committee came into being, and why your committee supports the site it prefers.
- How does each location compare with access to parking, particularly for the disabled and families with small children?
- How safe is the area around each site, especially at night in winter when it gets dark so early at this latitude?
- What service area do you believe libraries will see the greatest change in during the next 25 years and how will your preferred site best accommodate this change?
- How is a library different from a cultural or community center, or isn't it? How does your preferred site meet the communitarian functions of a library better than the other site?
- What about the financing? Is it possible that both sites will cost about the same, or is one option more expensive than the other?
- What should be down with your site if it is not the one chosen by voters as the new location of the downtown Renton library?