News

Officials talking price for relocating library

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

King County Library System officials have heard public comments from Federal Way residents for and against relocating the South 320th Street Library next to the new Federal Way Transit Center downtown, and now they’re preparing to meet with Sound Transit officials to see what the best offer might be.

The library system’s board authorized library administrators to find out what Sound Transit’s sale price might be for the “West TOD” — the parcel of land located on the west side of the transit center for “transit-oriented development.”

After they meet and discuss the parcel, library administrators will take a proposal to library system director Bill Ptacek, who will ultimately make a recommendation to the board. Kay Johnson, the system’s associate director for facilities development, said a final proposal should be before the board in two months.

Johnson said public meetings held late last year attracted a mixed turnout of people who support or oppose moving the South 320th branch downtown.

Library board members like the idea and want to do the move because they believe the new location would create more library traffic.

“There’s going to be hundreds, if not thousands, of people going through there (transit center) every day,” Johnson said.

Bus service at the transit center and its 1,200-stall parking garage is scheduled to begin next month.

If the library does move into the city center, the library system most likely would surplus the old site and use its share of the 8-cent property tax levy approved by voters countywide in 2004 to develop the new property. But Johnson noted everything is just at the discussion level.

“It’s all kind of hypothetical right now,” she said. “We don’t know how much it’ll cost at the transit center site and how much we’ll get” in the sale of the old building.

Johnson said library officials haven’t scheduled any more public meetings, but people can still submit their comments about the proposal to library administrators and the board. Letters may be sent to the library board or to Ptacek, the director, in care of the King County Library System Center, 960 Newport Way NW., Issaquah, WA 98027.

Johnson said the board is aware there’s disagreement in the community about whether the library should move.

“We’re trying to do what’s best for everyone,” she said.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@ fedwaymirror.com

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