Earlier in June City Council approved a $2.5 million contract with HKP Architects to perform the design and engineering work for the new Library Commons project. HKP is a local firm whose founder, Henry Klein, was the principal architect on the current library when it was constructed in 1955. Julie Blazek, a partner in the firm, expressed her wonderful opportunity to design the library her 6-year old granddaughter will be able to enjoy well into the future. The total project cost is expected to be around $43 million for the combined parking structure, library and community center facility. The project is currently approximately 60% funded based on sales tax proceeds being returned to the city, $500,000 from the County from economic development funds and transportation funds that will be available with the inclusion of electric vehicle charging stations. Grants and other funding sources are being explored. Primary next steps are to conduct geotechnical analysis which will determine how the building foundation will need to be designed. HKP has also already started discussions with library and city staff to determine the key features that should be included in the design.
The City has selected the firm that will develop the detailed designs and engineering specifications for the new Library Commons! HKP Architects were chosen after a detailed review of statements of qualifications submitted by a number of firms. HKP will be working with a number of partners who have experience with parking garages and other libraries. This agreement still needs to be finalized with a contract and approval by Council, but it does mean they should be able to start work hopefully later in May.
Thank you to the entire Mount Vernon community for your support of the 2021 Library Giving Day! We raised $3300 in donations which will be equally allocated across the three programs-1000 Books Before Kindergarten, Lego® Boost Robotic Kits and the Family Science Backpacks. Thirty-five generous donors helped to make this a success.
This past Wednesday in the MV City Council study session, the council agreed to allow the Mayor to enter a purchase option for the proposed Library Commons site at 208 Kincaid St, across from the county courthouse. The City and Skagit County have been in discussion on this matter since March 2018 and thanks in part to efforts on the part of newly elected Commissioner Peter Browning a purchase agreement is now close to finalization. A purchase price of $353,000 has been agreed, along with some corrections to rights-of-way in that area.
The Mayor also outlined a possible funding plan which would assemble the approximate $40 million required for the combined parking garage, library and community meeting center. There are still elements of this to be worked out, but about half of the amount could be secured by a councilmatic bond which the city can put in place without a vote. This is because the City has almost no debt obligation and there is a $500,000/year inflow from the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT) Program which basically redirects sales taxes paid to the state back to Mount Vernon.
Securing the site allows the next steps to take place which involves engaging an architectural and engineering company to come up with more specific plans and to verify what will be needed to build on that location. Commencing engineering work also will enable the City and the Foundation to begin securing grant funding from a number of sources.
These are definite positive steps forward and we can begin to see this project finally start to take shape. The Skagit Valley Herald had a nice front page article on Friday that recapped the meeting. More to come!
Our Adopt-a-Periodical campaign has been a fantastic success! Seventy-three community members “adopted” specific magazine titles. These adoptions plus some open donations will allow the library to cover a one-year subscription to ninety-eight periodicals, including some new titles not previously offered. The final amount donated was $4,347.00. It is a triumph for the library to have that many people participate in preserving the periodical section. Be sure to take a look at the periodical collection when the library re-opens to see your or your neighbor’s name on magazine shelf labels. Thank you to each of you who donated to this “feel good” project.
The Foundation will hold its annual membership meeting on Monday, January 11 at 5:30. This meeting will be held via ZOOM due to the limitations on public gatherings still expected to be in place in January. The program will include Hal Verrell, Foundation President recapping the year 2020; Isaac Huffman, Library Director, discussing library life under a pandemic and Mayor Jill Boudreau, MV Mayor, giving us an update on the site and financing for the new Library Commons. There will be time for questions and answers. Nomination and election of officers for 2021 will also be held. All members in good standing will receive a ZOOM link a few days before the event. Anyone else interested in being a guest at the meeting should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mount Vernon City Council at its Oct 28 meeting approved the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the city looking out five years. Funds for the new Library Commons have been included as a priority level 2 project (It is the City’s #1 project for 2021). The estimated expenditure is $38 million to be spread over three years of the construction process (design expenditures are expected in 2021). The Foundation has committed to providing $4 million of funding to support the interior appurtenances that will go into the facility. $14 million is expected to come from the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT) Program which basically redirects sales taxes paid to the state back to Mount Vernon for this worthy local project. See the full CIP report at mountvernonwa.gov/140/Capital-Improvements-Plan
The Skagit Valley Co-op 4% Friday grant has enabled the library to buy high quality materials to read, learn from, and be entertained by. Library staff member Andrea Alaniz has taken the lead in ordering materials to boost interest among Spanish speaking community members. She has ordered an array of Spanish and bilingual books for children and adults both fiction and non-fiction. Children will see new chapter books, board books, and non-fiction books on subjects such as space, animals, and the environment. New poetry, graphic novels, and holiday books will add spark to the collection. Adults will find new books on parenting, cooking, finances, relationships and business. They will also find a mix of popular fiction originally written in both Spanish and English and translated. The Co-op grant has planted a seed that will be nurtured by the library to continue to grow the collection for Spanish speaking community members.
You can be part of the effort to save the periodical section of the Mount Vernon Library by “adopting” one or more of your favorite titles. The budget to renew magazines and periodicals is at risk due to the budget cuts the city has had to impose on all departments.
You can donate the subscription cost of a magazine or multiple magazines which you enjoy to the library through the Library Foundation. It’s easy! Click the "Show Your Support" tab at the top of the page, then click "Adopt A Periodical". Scroll through the list of magazines in the list, choose one, fill out the form, and donate the cost of a year’s subscription. Be sure to include the name of the magazines you are adopting in the comment block. Your name, or the name of someone you would like to honor, will appear on a special label below the where the magazine is shelved. If you would like to donate a subscription to a magazine that is not listed, or if your choice has already been adopted, send an email to email@example.com and let us know and one of our volunteers will contact you. Our goal is to raise $3300 which will allow the renewal of all of the 75 titles the library currently has in their collection.
Budget cuts to the library may mean limited magazines and periodicals in the 2021 budget. You can be part of the effort to save the periodical section of the Mount Vernon Library by “adopting” a magazine. We will very shortly have a donation page available where you can donate the subscription cost of a magazine or a whole genre if you like. Your name, or the name of someone you would like to honor, will appear on the shelf label below the magazine. And remember, you can check out your favorite magazines and catch up on back issues by using the curbside checkout and pickup option.