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Committee recommends environmental center for library building
The library building over the Cedar River may become an environmental interpretive center if plans continue to move the downtown library to Third Street near the Piazza.
The Liberty Park Library Building Steering Committee presented its recommendations to the Renton City Council at Monday's Committee of the Whole meeting.
Committee chair Gary Barber, vice chair Marvin Rosete and secretary Teresa Clymer-Flora explained the process the committee used to arrive at its final top three choices for a new use for the building. An arts and cultural center was the second choice, followed by a community center space.
The steering committee has been reviewing various city development plans and feedback collected from the community for seven months. It held two public open houses and two online surveys to get public feedback.
One online survey with 295 responses showed 82 percent said they would "definitely likely" or "somewhat likely" use or visit an environmental interpretive center.
At the meeting the steering committee formally requested that the City Council to hire consultants to further investigate the possibility of creating the environmental interpretive center. It also asked the council to consider developing an arts center and civic center in the future.
Finally, the steering committee representatives asked that the Liberty Park library building be repurposed so that its design incorporates sustainable or more environmentally friendly practices and construction.
The steering committee will have to wait to see if and how the City Council will move forward with their recommendations. Members have to wait until voters decide whether they want the building to remain a library.
Barber said he's a little sad but encouraged now that the steering committee's work is finished.
"It's the imagination of these people that's really reflected in this report," he said. "Looking beyond what is to what could be, I feel like we've put forth a great product. Whatever the case may be, we've done what we were asked to do."