A pledge to continue the partnership in order to build a new Spokane Valley Library main branch on Sprague Avenue got the City Council’s OK on Tuesday night.
In a 5-1 vote – City Council Member Caleb Collier stuck by his earlier stance to vote nay – the council agreed to continue to work with the Spokane County Library District to develop property across the street from the new City Hall under construction at the former University City shopping center.
The city and SCLD would each make a $1.3 million investment if voters agree to pass a $22 million bond. That effort has failed twice already to reach the necessary 60-percent supermajority.
But those who spoke at the meeting were all in favor of moving forward to try a third time.
“Spokane Valley voters want a new library,” said Tara Hall, who noted that over 50 percent voted yes in the two other tries to replace the aging library at 12004 E. Main Ave. “They don’t want to be stagnant.”
The deal between the two jurisdictions is necessary, otherwise the city will be on the hook to return by October the $840,000 the library district paid for the land at Sprague and Herald Road. Now that money can be used to fund most of Spokane Valley’s portion of the investment – however, another $461,000 has not been budgeted.
The library’s investment will come from the money it already paid for the property and for a smaller library branch that would have been located at Conklin Road on Sprague.
Many who spoke said it was important for the city to develop land and expand nearby Balfour Park for its residents so it doesn’t become just another apartment complex.
“We lost a great opportunity at Painted Hills (Golf Course),” said Jaclyn Gallion. “We need sports complexes, we need libraries…don’t let this go.”
Before casting his no vote, Collier said property taxes “are death by a thousand cuts.”
A future public hearing is tentatively scheduled for the fall after the move into the new City Hall.