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Downtown Renton library timeline: April 17, 1966-Aug. 7, 2012
Reporter Tracey Compton compiled this timeline to help spell out the history of the three-year effort to build a new library downtown.
April 17, 1966: Grand opening of the downtown Renton Library over the Cedar River.
November 2008: The Renton Library Master Plan is developed with recommendations to “maintain an independent municipal library with improvements in service levels and facilities through expanded expenditure authority and continuing reciprocal borrowing agreement with the King County Library System (KCLS).”
July 2009: City Council adopts an inter local agreement with KCLS. The inter local agreement clarifies who is going to do what as plans move forward to construct a new downtown library and a new Highlands library.
Aug. 3, 2009: City Council votes 6-1 to place annexation to KCLS on the February 2010 ballot. Council member Marcie Palmer cast the lone no vote.
January 2010: The voters pamphlet for the February 2010 election is out. The pamphlet states that “Renton would provide two replacement library facilities to be paid for at a future date by City of Renton funds” in explaining what would happen should Renton annex into KCLS.
Feb. 9, 2010: Renton residents vote on annexing to the KCLS.
Feb. 24, 2010: The special election is certified with 6,395 residents or 50.2 percent voting for annexation and 6,342 residents or 49.7 percent voting against annexation into KCLS.
March 2010: KCLS begins providing service in Renton libraries.
May 2010: Downtown library hosts an open house to showcase new digital players, audio books, meeting rooms and signs as part of inclusion into KCLS.
June 2010: The City of Renton commissions a site feasibility study to analyze alternative locations for the downtown and Highlands branch libraries. The study examined the existing location, the Pavilion building site, the Big 5/Roxy theater building and the former McLendon Hardware site for a downtown library. The Highlands branch study examined the Sunset Terrace site, Sunset and Harrington site, Dalpay site, and the Ribera site.
July - Sept. 2010: City of Renton staff and consultants evaluate sites.
Oct. - Nov. 2010: City Council receives two briefings in executive session on potential property acquisition.
March 21, 2011: City Council approves purchase and sale agreement for the former Big 5 Sporting Goods store site for the new downtown library. The property costs $525,000.
May 2, 2011: The City Council chamber is packed as council members weigh whether to issue $18 million in bonds to pay for downtown and Highlands branch construction.
June 13, 2011: Big 5 property purchase scheduled to close.
June 20, 2011: The City Council votes 4-3 to issue $18 million bonds to pay for the construction of the Highlands and downtown libraries. Council members Terri Briere, Rich Zwicker, Don Persson and King Parker voted to issue the bonds. Greg Taylor, Randy Corman and Marcie Palmer voted against the bonds.
July 2011: City enters into a new agreement with KCLS, which obligates the City of Renton to fund the site acquisition, design, construction and other related costs for both the Highlands and downtown library facilities.
July 5, 2011: City seeks residents interested in participating in a Liberty Park Library Building Steering Committee to determine the new use for the downtown library.
September 2011: The grassroots effort begins to organize to save the library over the Cedar River. A group calling itself Citizens for the Preservation of the Cedar River Library begins to gather signatures for an initiative to stop the move to the Piazza, the former Big 5 site.
Sept. 28, 2011: First meeting of the Liberty Park Building Steering Committee. It would go on to meet in 10, two-hour meetings until March 2012.
February 2012: Citizens for the Cedar River Library submit signatures to Bonnie Walton, Renton city clerk, for an initiative to stop the move of the downtown library to the Piazza.
March 2, 2012: City clerk notifies citizens group they are short 1,442 signatures to validate the initiative. The group has until March 12 to submit additional signatures.
March 2012: King County Elections Office validates 6,383 signatures, enough to get the citizens’ initiative before the City Council for them to review and vote on it.
March 2012: City Attorney Larry Warren issues a memo to Mayor Denis Law and City Council members where he “opined that the library initiative would require an unconstitutional impairment of the contract with KCLS, and an improper collateral attack on the February annexation election.”
April 2, 2012: City Council votes against putting the citizens group initiative on a ballot in a 4-3 vote. Council members Rich Zwicker, Terri Briere, Ed Prince and Don Persson voted against adopting the initiative. Palmer, Corman and Taylor voted for the initiative.
April 6, 2012: City Council officials and staff continue to work on options that would give the public some role in selecting the location of a downtown library. The talks continue for about a week.
April 16, 2012: Liberty Park Library Building Steering Committee presents recommendations to the City Council. Building could become an environmental interpretive center.
April 16, 2012: Renton City Council votes to put the site selection for the downtown library before residents on the Aug. 7 ballot. The language for the ballot was created by Assistant City Attorney Zanetta Fontes with much deliberation among City Council members. The vote is unanimous.
May 2012: The Citizens for the Preservation of the Cedar River Library officially register with the Public Disclosure Commission as the Citizens for the Cedar River Library. Their mission is to promote the “over the Cedar River” location choice on Proposition 1 measure on the Aug. 7 ballot.
June 2012: Miller-Hull Architects produces a feasibility study for the reconstruction of the current site for the downtown Renton library.
June 28, 2012: People for the Piazza Park Library hold their kick-off meeting. Their mission is to secure the site west of the Piazza, as the new downtown library location.
July 2, 2012: KCLS sends a letter to 43,000 Renton residents about the upcoming Aug. 7 election.
Aug. 7, 2012: Renton residents will vote between the Piazza site, and the current location over the Cedar River for the new construction of a downtown library.