At a Tuesday, Nov. 5 meeting with Felton community members and supporters of the project, 5th District Supervisor Bruce McPherson — who serves on the Santa Cruz Public Library Joint Powers Board — said that increased stability in the funding for the library system and the overall improvement of the economy, has created conditions favorable to getting the project underway.
“We’re coming to another point where we’re going to try and put things together,” he said. “It’s our turn, and it’s about time.”
McPherson said that over the next several months, several bond measure proposals for library improvements countywide were likely to come before the Joint Powers Board and could be on the ballot as soon as the November 2014 election.
Board member Nancy Gerdt said that any bond measure proposal would prioritize Felton’s need for a new facility, given the centrally located site on Gushee Street, and the cramped quarters of the existing library in the Faye G. Belardi Memorial building about ½ mile away at the corner of Gushee and Felton Empire Road.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” she said.
The Belardi building was built 1893 as a Presbyterian church, and renovated in 1956 when it was donated to the library system by the Belardi family.
McPherson cautioned that, before any bond measure could realistically be put to a vote, the contract of the Joint Powers Board — which consists of representatives from Santa Cruz County, along with the cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Scotts Valley — would need to be extended.
‘This site, it couldn’t be more ideal’
The acre of land adjacent to the Scotts Valley Post Office was donated by Mike Verutti for the library site, but has sat in limbo for more than a decade as funding for a new facility never materialized.
Plans for a modern, 9,000-square-foot facility have been ready to go since 2009, said Architect Teall Messer.
“We’ve just been waiting for someone to come up with a few million dollars,” he said.
Messer said that the building would be designed to maximize green technology such as radiant heating, large rooftop windows, and solar power arrays in order to minimize the operating cost.
According to Gerdt, construction of the plans as drawn would cost approximately $8.5 million.
“This site, it couldn’t be more ideal,” she said, citing its accessibility, proximity to schools, and central location at what she described as “the gateway to the San Lorenzo Valley.”
“(Gushee Street) is one of the few streets in Felton that has a sidewalk.”
Paul Machlis of Felton Library Friends said the planned new building would provide more than seven times the space that the 1,250 square feet the existing building offers — meaning more space for books, activities, and studying.
“(The existing facility) has not been adequate for a long time,” he said.
For more information about the Joint Powers Board, visit www.santacruzpl.org, and for more information about the Felton Library Friends, visit www.feltonlibraryfriends.org/
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