By Astha Tada
Hoorah! It’s been decided! Our new, larger 10,000 square foot library will be built right behind Mount View Elementary at S.W. 107th Street and 14th Avenue S.W. This will be a welcomed resource since effective early elementary education is crucial for school success. It is also still within walking distance from Cascade Middle School/ Evergreen campuses, closer to White Center Heights Elementary and low income facilities.
The requests to delay the decision to understand the full impact of the sites and get greater community involvement were denied by KCLS trustees who felt rising building costs, long delays, generous loan allowances and another interested buyer compelled them to make this choice.
The King County Library System Board of Trustees approved the new White Center library Tuesday night, Feb. 26 by a vote of 4 to 0, and approved locating the new library at a vacant lot on the corner of SW 107th and 14th SW (the preferred site by the White Center Chamber of Commerce, the White Center CDA, several school teachers and after school program directors, and many other White Center community members).
This location is directly across the street from Mount View Elementary School, directly across the street from Coronado Springs, a low income facility with over 300 family and elder apartments, and the site is next door to almost 400 additional apartment units to the south.
All these residents will have an easy walking distance on non arterial streets to reach the new library.
The KCLS will now negotiate with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, the owner of the site on the development process.
It is expected that the new $5+ million library will be a redevelopment opportunity for the White Center business district and become an anchor to the south end of the White Center business district.
So, Burien loses the White Center annexation vote, and is now retaliating by trying to steal our new White Center library.
After our 2 to 1 vote to reject Burien annexation, Rose Clark and Jerry Robison (not the Highline Times publisher), two of the most vocal pro-Burien annexation voices on the Burien City Council, testified at a recent King County Library System (KCLS) hearing that our new White Center library should be moved away from White Center, further south into Burien.
They then suggested that if that was not possible, an alternative is to keep the library at the same location, but close it for a year during construction. Their testimony emphasized that in no case should our new White Center library be located in unincorporated White Center, which is closer to our elementary schools. Their actions are vindictive and appear to be retribution for our strong rejection of Burien annexation.
At the same hearing, Barbara Dobkin, the president of the UAC, another pro-Burien annexation group, also testified that the White Center library should be moved further away from White Center, south into Burien.
That was the one-word reaction from Liz Giba, a leader in the fight to keep the White Center Library, following a King County Library System (KCLS) planning committee meeting in Burien on Thursday, Nov. 15.
With the overwhelming defeat of Burien’s bid to annex North Highline, Giba and other area library supporters who packed the small Burien Library conference room feared KCLS director Bill Ptacek would recommend the library board resume plans to close the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries and build a larger library in north Burien.
Instead, Ptacek suggested KCLS build a 10,000 square-foot library north of the current White Center Library at 11220 16th Ave. S.W. The current library is 6,000 square feet.
Ironically, one of the reasons Ptacek had earlier given for closing the White Center site was that it was too close to Seattle’s city limits. He argued Seattle residents were coming over the border and using the library without paying for its services.
In a later interview with the Highline Times, Ptacek said there will be no changes to the Boulevard Park Library.
While Burien City Council members are seriously split on North Highline annexation and other issues, they had refrained from personal verbal attacks in public—until their July 2 council meeting.
The issue that spurred the verbal joust was the possible consolidation of the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries into one new building. King County Library System trustees have considered the recommendation from their staff but have held off action pending the November vote on annexation.
But on July 2, Councilman Jack Block Jr. accused the council majority of Mayor Brian Bennett. Deputy Mayor Rose Clark, Councilwoman Joan McGilton and Councilman Gerald Robison of secretly going along with City Manager Mike Martin’s plans to close the libraries. Block said Martin is working through an ad hoc committee to go along with consolidating the libraries. He added Martin wants to use the current White Center Library building as a police precinct station.
Five Burien residents were chosen Monday, Feb. 7 by the Burien City Council to receive the city’s annual citizen awards.
The five are Debra George, business leader; Maggie Larrick and Eric Dickman, community leaders; Michael Stein-Ross, education leader; and Brooks Stanfield, environmental leader.
The awards will be presented at a dinner event on March 4 at 8:15 p.m. at the Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Ave. S.W. The event, organized by Discover Burien, will include a silent auction.
George is a former executive director of Discover Burien and plans events for the group. She is also co owner of the Mark Restaurant in Olde Burien.
Larrick, a former Times/News editor, is managing director of the Burien Little Theatre. Dickman, her husband, is artistic director for the theatre.
Stein-Ross teaches at St. Francis of Assisi School in Seahurst. He and his students are building a rain garden at the school.
Stanfield organized the bike rodeo at last year’s Burien Wild Strawberry Festival and has been an advocate for bicycle use.
The council also heard a presentation on the King County Library System’s North Highline Library Service Area analysis.
By Richard Conlin, Seattle City Council
Ed. Note: The Seattle Public Library system, including the Ballard Library, is closed Aug. 30 to Sept. 6 due to budget cuts.
In April, I noted that my concern about funding for the Seattle Public Library in these difficult budget times led me to take oversight of the library in my Regional Development and Sustainability Committee in order to work with the library on finding a new and independent source of funding.
While the council has consistently restored some funding to the library when it has been cut by the mayor, this will become increasingly difficult in future years, as public safety and human services take up much of the budget and are seen as priorities.
Seattle Public Library staff, working with council staff and the City Budget office, have now completed an initial review of possible funding options and submitted it to my committee.
The review suggests that a voter-approved levy lid lift for library operations may be the most promising possibility for a sustainable funding source.
The Ballard Library, as well as all other Seattle Public Library branches, will be closed Aug. 30 through Sept. 5 due to citywide budget cuts. Libraries will also be closed Sept. 6 for the Labor Day holiday.
As part of the Ballard Library closure, the parking garage for the library and the Ballard Neighborhood Service Center will also be closed for the week.
The closures are part of cuts implemented by all city departments to help address a $67 million gap in the 2010 city budget, according to a Seattle Public Library press release.
The closures will save approximately $650,000 and are only one of a number of measures Seattle Public Library is undertaking to achieve $3 million in cuts for 2010, according to the press release.
According to the press release, the closures will mean salary reductions for nearly 650 employees, who will not be paid during that week.
The rest of the cuts for 2010 are to branch hours, management and administration, the budget for books and materials, staff computers and staff training, according to the press release.
Original photos, drawings, pottery, paintings and more by Ballard High School students are on display at the Ballard Library now until May 28 as part of the Ballard High School Student Art Show.
On May 8 in conjunction with the Ballard Art Walk, there will be an artists reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the library that will include video productions and music from Ballard students.
The Ballard Library is located at 5614 22nd Ave. N.W.
Click the image above for more photos of the Ballard High School Student Art Show.