After hearing opinions on the future of the old Buena Vista library
from dozens of citizens, Burbank City Council members were split on a
staff proposal to use the site as a child-care center.
Following two hours of public comments and its own deliberations,
the council voted 3-2 to renovate the facility for use as a
full-service child-care facility. Mayor Stacey Murphy and Councilman
Jef Vander Borght opposed the proposal.
Murphy said the existing building is too much of a community
resource to be used only for child care.
“I think we need to serve the most people possible,” she said.
Councilman Dave Golonski, who served on the project oversight
committee, said the site is so small that dividing it up between a
variety of uses would leave each area with very little space.
“You just have to look at what’s the best use for the site,” he
said. “I believe it is child care.”
The staff recommendation came after a May 31 community meeting,
when about 100 people suggested various uses for the property,
including single-family homes and a puppet museum. While
Redevelopment Project Manager Maribel Frausto said the child-care
center would meet the desire of many people to maintain the existing
building, there was little consensus on the former library’s future
during Tuesday’s public-comment period.
Among those who spoke during more than two hours of oral
communications were about a dozen Girl Scouts asking that the library
be given to their organization, whose nearest facility is in
Chatsworth. Several representatives of Theater West of Hollywood
asked the council to turn the facility over to them for use as a
theater, with one speaker even showing a video in which actor Richard
Dreyfuss spoke about his experiences with the group.
Robin Wright, a local teacher, was one of many speakers who said
Burbank lacks in child-care and infant-care facilities.
“Although Burbank has a number of facilities, many are not quality
centers,” she said.
Renovating the facility for use as a child-care center would cost
about $1.8 million and include things like play-yard improvements and
special restroom fixtures, city officials said. The 7,900-square-foot
building could accommodate about 85 children and also contain a
family resource center with information for parents.