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Former library’s future hard to read

Laura Sturza

The old Buena Vista Branch Library site could come back as a

child-care center or single-family homes.

City Council members cannot agree about the future of the

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building, which became vacant when the new branch opened in December.

At a City Council meeting earlier this month, members decided to

put the question to residents at a community meeting, which has not

been scheduled.

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“I really want the community to be involved in this decision,”

Vice Mayor Stacey Murphy said. “The property should be [used] for the

greatest good of the city.”

The cost of remodeling the library to turn it into a child-care

center for as many as 100 children is estimated to be about $1

million. Income from selling the land for residential development

would earn the city $300,000 to $700,000.

Under the City Charter, any profit from the sale would go to

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library services.

But the price of converting the former library into a child-care

center could prove daunting in light of looming state budget cuts.

Each of the city’s department heads has been asked to come up with

plans for cutting their division’s budget by 10%.

“A child-care center, as valuable as it is to the community, it’s

a tremendous cost ... that we cannot undertake at this time,”

Councilman Jef Vander Borght said.

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However, Councilman Dave Golonski does not want to give up public

land for private use.

“I don’t support the housing options here,” Golonski said. “The

need for child care is compelling.”

The county’s most recent child-care survey, from 1999, showed that

2,434 local infants and toddlers needed care, but only 173 spaces

were available in Burbank. Parents of the city’s 3,710 preschoolers

vied for 1,818 openings.

While several council members prefer to retain the land for city

use, they voted to listen to public comment at a town hall meeting

before making a final decision.

“We have no available land in the city, so you hate to give up a

precious commodity,” Murphy said. “To go out and buy land would cost

a fortune.”


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