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Library won't relocate to transit center
By PHILIP PALERMO
The King County Library Board has voted not to pursue a proposal to relocate the South 320th Library in Federal Way to a location near Sound Transit's new transit center downtown.
At its meeting Tuesday, the board was presented with statements from the City Council, which last week voted against the proposed relocation, and the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. Both requested the board to no longer consider the transit center site.
King County Library System's executive director, Bill Ptacek, said the proposal was initiated by the city, which asked the system to look into the possibility.
A relocation would have meant a change of plans for the library system, which originally advertised renovating the South 320th branch at its current site in its efforts to promote a 2004 capital improvement bond vote. Going forward with such a change, Ptacek said, would have involved a lengthy process weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each site.
"The board can't just change the plan," Ptacek said.
The board's decision, he said, essentially means the board didn't want to start that process for the transit center site.
Ptacek said the board's vote dealt specifically with the transit center proposal. Other issues, such as future relocation possibilities, weren't discussed.
Ptacek said the board will continue with its current plan of renovating the branch at its current site.
The proposal to relocate the branch was met with criticism from citizens. More than 800 signed a petition to keep the branch at its current location, citing safety issues near a transit center, better access for children and its proximity to schools.
"Where the library is in a lot of communities is a big issue. It's always a hot topic," Ptacek said.
Despite strong public sentiment against a relocation, Ptacek said the issue helped identify concerns among residents, including the desire for library access in the Federal Way area east of Interstate 5.
The library system, he said, is planning to conduct further community studies later this year.
"This was a good start to that process," he said.
Staff writer Philip Palermo: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org