Open house tonight in Port Townsend to display library options
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Mark Ortmeier, Spencer Hartjung and Kim Carter use the computers in the Port Townsend library's temporary location at Mountain View Commons.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Residents can examine five alternatives for finishing the renovation of the Port Townsend Library and weigh in on what they want — and how much they want to pay for it — during an open house tonight.

“We want people to tell us what's important to them and how fiscally prudent they want us to be,” said City Manager David Timmons.

“We want them to assess the pros and cons, and determine what is the best fit,” he said.

The library will host the meeting from 6:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in the Carnegie Reading Room at the public library at 1220 Lawrence St., which is closed during renovation.

About 60 percent of the library's collection is accessible at the library's temporary location at Mountain View Commons, 1919 Blaine St.

Attendees will be asked to state a preference among the five renovation options, Timmons said. Comments will be used to help determine a course of action.

A sixth option also could be developed from them, Timmons added.

Those who cannot attend in person may view a description of the options online at

They can make then their opinions known by dropping off a note at City Hall, 250 Madison St., or by emailing with “Library” in the subject line.

Four phases of the library renovation are now completed or in progress: the renovation of the Charles Pink House, the seismic upgrade of the Carnegie Building and its interior repair, construction of a modular structure for housing the children's library and the resurfacing of the front of the Carnegie building.

Still to come is the fifth phase of the library's expansion, which includes the replacement of the current single-level, 3,625-square-foot annex with a three-story, 14,420-square-foot structure.

The estimated cost of construction is $8.1 million, and will require funding through individual and business donations and grants to the Foundation Capital Campaign, and a city bond in addition to the several grants.

As the project has cost more and taken longer than expected, library supporters have advocated a bond issue of up to $3 million that could appear on an August ballot.

Mayor David King said the cost of the bond would not be known until it's issued but estimated that a $3 million bond would increase property taxes by $56.70 per year for a home valued at $300,000.

In preparation for that possibility, the public meetings are taking place in an effort to decide what the community wants and howw much it is willing to spend on the project.

The five options, from least to most expensive, are:

-- Moving the library back into the Carnegie location with minimal operational modifications.

This choice doesn't address library growth and would cost from $20,000 to $180,000 to complete.

-- Upgrade with elevator replacement, south-side restoration and parking lot improvements.

This option doesn't address library growth, would still require operational upgrades and could cost up to $2.2 million.

-- Including improvements from the first and second option, plus a 2,000-square-foot addition to the current library to provide more collection space.

This option requires the continued storage of some of the collections and would cost up to $3 million.

-- A two-story, 9,200-square-foot addition to that would replace and expand the addition that was built in 1990.

This option would provide space for collections and paves the way for another 5,600-square-foot addition in the future. This option could cost up to $5.7 million.

-- A new two-story addition that adds 14,700 square feet plus a basement to the existing structure and replaces the 1990 addition.

This option, which would cost a total of $7.75 million — an amount that includes the proposed city bond — has been the favored choice of the library staff.

“This is our preferred alternative because it meets the needs of the current library and is based on our service levels,” said library Director Theresa Percy.

“It allows future growth and will accommodate the projects that we want to do,” she added.

For more information about the library, phone 360-385-3181 or visit

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: April 07. 2013 6:31PM
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