Cost estimates show Piazza library downtown is less costly

The Renton Public Library has stood over the Cedar River on Mill Avenue for decades. - Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter
The Renton Public Library has stood over the Cedar River on Mill Avenue for decades.
— image credit: Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter

The  City of Renton has released cost estimates for building a new downtown library and renovating the one over the Cedar River, in advance of Monday's City Council meeting.

Zanetta Fontes, the assistant city attorney, also has prepared draft language for a ballot measure that would put the location of library to a public vote.

The cost estimates are included in a staff report from Terry Higashiyama, administrator of the Community Services Department, to Mayor Denis Law.

According to the report:

• The budget for the Piazza site, including the cost to buy the former Big 5 property, is $9,337,000.

• The estimate for the rehabilitation of the existing library, including seismic and structural improvements, is $10.1 million.

Higashiyama pointed out that city staff met Thursday with the officials from the King County Library System to review the estimates.

In her report she wrote that the KCLS officials "expressed significant concern with the estimate, based on their recent experience with remodeled library projects, and that the location of the library over the Cedar River could be impact by permitting delays and other issues."

The staff report also noted that a temporary replacement library would be needed during construction, at a cost of $400,000.

Fontes offered a detailed explanation of the reasoning behind the suggested wording for the ballot measure.

Here is her draft proposal:

1. Subject statement (10-word limit):

City of Renton vote to select a library site downtown

2. Concise description (75-word limit):

After Renton voters chose to join King County Library System (KCLS), Renton contracted with KCLS to provide a state of the art library in downtown Renton. The library will be located at EITHER the existing library location over the Cedar River, with an approximate cost of $_______, OR West of the Renton Piazza, with an approximate cost of $9,300,000. If the Piazza site is chosen, Renton will keep the existing library for future public use.

3. Question:

Which location should be the site of the downtown library?

Over the Cedar River ______

West of the Piazza ______

The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in its City Council chambers to review the two reports. The council must act no later than its April 23 meeting in order to meet a deadline to place the measure on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.


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