When the new Buena Vista Branch Library opened to rave reviews in
December, it set some people to thinking that if one new facility is
good, two more would be even better.
Measure L will help the city get two new libraries, with the state
footing two-thirds of the expected $38-million bill. To cover the
city’s part, the initiative would levy a tax on residents and other
property owners, charging $1 per $100,000 of assessed value -- so
most people will pay about $3 a month for two state-of-the art
libraries in the city.
Some of the features at the new facilities can’t even be called
“high-tech” -- the Central Library has a severe parking shortage that
would be solved with a new building, and it would finally be able to
comply with disabled access standards. Central, as well as the
Northwest Branch, could have enough space to present more children’s
reading programs and study centers for teens, as well as more
services for seniors.
Fortunately, the city has the land on which to build a new Central
Library and renovate the Northwest Branch, and can include the value
of those properties in its share of the fund-raising. But the city
has to move now on the state’s offer -- there are only three
application periods for the state grants, and the second deadline is
rapidly approaching. The state money soon will be gone, with
residents left to foot the entire bill.
To ensure residents’ money is being collected and distributed
responsibly, a citizens’ oversight committee will oversee the
project. The measure, which is on the ballot Tuesday, goes into
effect only if the city receives state funds.
Measure L isn’t just about improving two of the city’s libraries
-- it’s about improving the city itself. Vote “yes” on it.