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The North Bend Eagle


Popcorn plant lots proposed for library

by Nathan Arneal
Published 6/9/10

City Council wants more time to study possible sites.

With the fund raising efforts for a new library 70 percent finished, the Library Foundation has set a goal to begin construction by Sept. 1.

In order to begin construction this fall, the Foundation says it needs to finalize a location so architects can work on final plans.

In a letter from the Foundation presented to the North Bend City Council at its June 1 meeting, the Foundation suggests the new library be built at 13th and Main streets, on the lot of the old popcorn plant.

The letter, which was signed by Foundation Chair Jana Post, Library Board President Dorothy Mines and Foundation Secretary Cheryl Kavan, said the foundation considered 11 sites around town and scored each in three categories: location, site and constructability, and availability.

According to the letter, the lots at the popcorn plant have been offered to the Library Foundation for $20,000.

The letter also listed several advantages to the popcorn plant site: the possibility of off-street parking, no costs of clearing existing structures, and room for future expansion on adjacent undeveloped lots.

Choosing a new site for the library would allow the current library building to be preserved, the letter pointed out.

The final decision to the new library’s location falls to the city council, who did not seem ready to give their blessing to the popcorn plant site just yet.

The current agreement between the Library Foundation and the city says the new library will be built on the same site as the current library. In that agreement, the city is responsible for providing parking. One of the concerns is that if the popcorn plant site is chosen, all new parking would have to be constructed, significantly increasing the city’s expenses. The city is also concerned about being stuck with the old building and paying for its upkeep. The current library has been for sale for several months now.

The council also said it would be interested in seeing Library Foundation’s scoring of the 11 possible sites.

The council said it wants more time to consider the issue and no action was taken by the council regarding a location for the new library.

In other council news:
• Approved a five-year renewal with PeopleService to operate and maintain the water and sewer plant.
• Approved Ordinance 497, closing all public parks and ball fields between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m.
• Ordinance 496, moving the deadline for alcohol sales from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m., was given its second reading.
• Gary Widhelm, Tom Johnson and John Reynolds were reappointed to three-year terms on the city planning commission.
• Mayor Jeff Kluthe, Council President Kevin Ferguson, Sheriff Steve Hespen and Dr. Jeff Rapp were reappointed to the city’s board of health.
• Don Kruger was reappointed as the city’s emergency manager.

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