It's a blowout. Renton gives heart, votes to library over the Cedar River
By DEAN RADFORD
Renton Reporter Editor
August 7, 2012 · 8:41 PM
Renton's voters were sticking by their beloved library over the Cedar River Tuesday, overwhelmingly voting to refurbish it rather than build a new one.
Renton's voters are selecting in the primary election the location of the downtown library. Initial results posted at 8:40 p.m. showed that 76 percent favor keeping the library right where it's been for 46 years vs. 24 percent who want to build a new library just west of the Piazza.
In numbers that's 6,903 for the Cedar library and 2,164 for the Piazza library.
There are 44,510 registered voters in Renton; as of 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, the elections office had verified 11,588.
The King County Elections Division will continue counting ballots through Aug. 20; a lead that large is impossible to overcome.
The county will update election results weekdays at 4:30 p.m. through Monday, Aug. 20, with the final results posted Tuesday, Aug. 20.
The stage was set for the election after a citizens group collected enough signatures to validate an initiative to put the location to a vote. While the Renton City Council didn't accept the initiative, it did come up with its own ballot measure that accomplished the same thing.
Since then, the Cedar River group, the Citizens for the Cedar River Library, and the group supporting the new library west of the Piazza, People for the Piazza Park Library, have been campaigning for their sites.
Much of the debate has centered around the cost of each location.
The cost of building the new Piazza library is estimated at $9.3 million, the figure that was used in the Voters Pamphlet. The most recent estimate from the King County Library System to refurbish the Cedar library is $13.1 million. The Voters Pamphlet had the cost at $10.1 million, an earlier estimate.
The City of Renton sold $18 million in bonds to build the new libraries downtown and in the Highlands. The King County Library System will then own and operate the two libraries.
Renton voters by a narrow margin voted to annex to KCLS in 2010.Contact Renton Reporter Editor Dean Radford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-255-3484 (ext 5050).