Sno-Isle Libraries buys land for new Lake Stevens Library

Sno-Isle and Lake Stevens city officials photo
Sno-Isle Libraries and City of Lake Stevens officials gather at the site earmarked for a new, larger Lake Stevens Library and new city facilities. From left are: Sonia Gustafson, Lake Stevens Library Managing Librarian; Kendra Trachta, Sno-Isle Libraries Deputy Director; Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees President Sue Cohn; Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory; Lake Stevens Mayor John Spencer; Lake Stevens City Council member Sam Low, Lake Stevens City Council member Kim Daughtry and Lake Stevens City Administrator Mary Swenson.  Photo gallery

Sno-Isle Libraries is buying land for a new library to serve the Lake Stevens community.

A purchase and sale agreement for property on the northwest corner of 99th Avenue NE and Market Place was unanimously approved by the library district’s Board of Trustees at the Sept. 26 regular meeting.

“I’m thankful for the leadership and vision of our trustees,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “Their commitment to the Lake Stevens community brings us one step closer to the new, larger library the community deserves."

The land is adjacent to property purchased earlier this year by the City of Lake Stevens. The library district and city are working together to site the new library as well as new city facilities. The purchase price of the library district’s parcel is $850,000, plus closing costs.

The Sno-Isle Libraries 2016-25 Capital Facilities Plan calls for replacing the Lake Stevens Library with a new, larger building. Community input strongly indicates the current library is too small to serve the growing Lake Stevens community.  Building and opening a larger library, however, would require voter approval for funding.

Sno-Isle Libraries will work with the City and County to place two ballot measures before voters for consideration. The first measure would ask whether a Library Capital Facility Area (LCFA) should be formed to raise necessary tax funds to construct and furnish a new Lake Stevens Library. A Lake Stevens library capital facility area would mirror the boundaries of the Lake Stevens School District.

This potential measure requires a simple majority approval to pass. A second potential ballot measure would ask voters whether library bonds should be issued for a new, larger Lake Stevens Library. For passage of this measure, 40 percent of those who voted in the previous general election must vote on this bond-issue question. In addition, passage of the bond measure requires approval by 60 percent or more of those voting.

Both library measures need to be approved for work to proceed on a new Lake Stevens Library. The first possible date for the measures to be on a ballot is Feb. 14, 2017.

Normally, the full price of the land would be included in the setting the bond amount, but not in this case. The trustees pledged half of the land cost, $425,000 plus closing costs, from library district reserves toward the purchase as part of the motion approved on Monday night.

“Sno-Isle Libraries’ commitment to pay half of the land purchase demonstrates our support for this project,” Board of Trustees President Sue Cohn said.

The site and building in which the current library operates are owned by the city. The City of Lake Stevens has long envisioned other uses for the property and is currently moving through a planning process for the downtown area. City officials have said the library and at least some city services must move from the downtown area.

“The current Lake Stevens Library serves the community as well as it can, but it is just too small to meet the needs of this growing area,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Community members told us they want a new, larger library and we’re working to help make their vision a reality.”

Board Vice-President Marti Anamosa added her support, saying, “This is a great partnership between the City of Lake Stevens and Sno-Isle Libraries.”

Beginning next week, the four-member committee called for in an interlocal agreement approved in August will start work on a joint site development plan. The committee includes two representatives from the city and two from the library district.