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Corona del Mar ‘fibrary’ — firehouse-library combo — plan could be revived

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The “fibrary,” or library-fire station complex, planned for Corona del Mar.
(Courtesy City of Newport Beach)

The “fibrary” could be back.

The new combination library-fire station complex in Corona del Mar – which was approved in 2015 and has already been designed, but was put on hold earlier this year over budget concerns – appears on the upcoming $63.7-million capital improvements budget for Newport Beach.

This budget, which lists planned building and infrastructure improvements in the city, is an ongoing document that, unlike an operations budget, carries over from fiscal year to fiscal year.

But a potential influx of developer fees could take the $7.4-million fibrary out of its holding pattern.

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Councilman Scott Peotter, who has previously called the project a lower priority, suggested during a budget study session last week that if the anticipated $19 million in fees from the Uptown Newport mixed-use project comes through later this year he would like to see it put toward the firehouse-library, which is in his district.

“I’m just putting a plug in now that I’d like to see the CdM library and fire station come off hold, assuming that we get that money,” he said.

In January, city leaders said that unfunded pension liabilities could postpone the project up to five years. They also suggested delaying other popular, multi-million projects like a restaurant at the end of Newport Pier and a junior lifeguard headquarters.

Library supporters rallied. The library board responded with a plan to spend $35,000 to $42,000 to at least make the most pressing repairs in the meantime. The nearly 60-year-old building needs new paint, windows, air conditioning and wooden deck repairs.

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Although Peotter’s support doesn’t guarantee the building project’s quick return, Public Works Director Dave Webb said the city would put the project back in the rotation with full council approval.

The council may form a subcommittee to study the capital budget to move up the fibrary and other delayed projects.

Other big-ticket items for next year’s to-do list include about $7 million in seawall replacements and capping on Balboa Island; about $3 million in repavement on Irvine Avenue, MacArthur Boulevard/University Drive and Marguerite Avenue; and $1 million to update the General Plan, the city’s major overall planning document.

View the proposed 2017-18 capital improvements budget at newportbeachca.gov/home/showdocument?id=54370.

hillary.davis@latimes.com

Twitter: @Daily_PilotHD


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