San Bruno locates possible library sitesBy Erin Sherbert
One year after efforts to pass a library bond measure failed, library committee members said they have landed on what they believe is the perfect site for a new library.
The ad hoc San Bruno Library Citizens Committee is recommending that the city construct a new library twice the size of the present building on either the city employee parking lot or the site currently occupied by a fire station, which the city is considering moving.
The sites are located next to each other in the city Civic Center between Linden Avenue and El Camino Real.
The proposed two-story library would be about 40,000 square feet with a $20 million price tag, and include underground parking. Committee members will present their recommendations to the City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday.
"The idea was to find a site that was an easy, central location and wouldn't require eminent domain," said Dave Dornlas, a committee member. "These sites are large enough, bring people to the Civic Center and are close to public transportation."
Committee members had tossed around the idea of building a new library on the existing site. But that would mean moving the present library to a temporary site while the new one was being constructed, something committee members believe would burden residents.
Building a new library on either the fire station lot or the underutilized city employee parking lot would allow the city to use the existing library building, possibly for a City Council chamber.
"It's a no-brainer," Dornlas said. "You'd then have 54,000 square feet of space -- a new library plus the old library, which is a good match with City Hall."
Last June a $14 million library bond measure failed at the polls by 12 percent. The measure needed a 67 percent affirmative vote and received only 55 percent, said Terry Jackson, director of the San Bruno Library.
Library proponents attribute last year's failure to a lackluster campaign and mixed information about the details of the library. That proposal called for a building of about 42,000 square feet on the Cal Fed bank site at Jenevein and San Mateo avenues.
But after a year of analyzing more than 20 sites throughout the city, committee members feel confident they can woo voters whose optimism for a new library has grown over the past year.
Jackson said she isn't certain when the city will go back to the voters, noting that it may call for a special election, depending on how much time it takes to educate voters.
"I'm not recommending we go out in the November election, because I don't believe we have done all of our homework," Jackson said. "I'd never recommend going back unless ... we find a dollar amount that the voters will tolerate."
The committee is also asking that the council conduct a voter survey, asking them how they feel about the latest plans for a new library and at what cost they would be willing to support the plans.
Copyright ©2002 San Mateo County Times. Published 06/21/2002.