Springfield council to hear report on building new library

November 26, 2017 GMT

SPRINGFIELD — The city may launch a community outreach and fundraising plan next year for a new public library building.

The Springfield City Council is scheduled to hear the final report from a Portland architectural firm studying the city’s long-term library needs at a work session Monday evening.

Councilors are expected to discuss forming a marketing and outreach strategy as soon as January and possibly start a fundraising campaign around April, according to a memo attached to councilors’ Monday City Council work session agenda.

FFA Architecture + Interiors has been studying Springfield’s library needs for more than a year at the request of city and Springfield Public Library officials.

None of the conversations means a library building will be constructed in the next few years, further in the future or at all. The city doesn’t have the money for the estimated $34 million project.

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The council in February picked a tentative site for a new library: a city-owned office building and parking lot at Fifth and A streets, across from the existing library and City Hall building.

A study by FFA Architecture + Interiors found that a roughly 56,000-square-foot library would meet the city’s needs for at least the next 25 years. The memo in Monday’s meeting agenda shows FFA’s final design for a proposed library: a three-story, 61,400-square-foot building that includes 3,400 square feet of retail space.

The current Springfield Public Library, in the City Hall at 225 Fifth St., is 24,595 square feet.

Paying for a new library building could require a combination of a voter-approved property tax bond and smaller donations. A bond that raised $30 million for the city would cost about 50 cents per $1,000 of a Springfield owner’s property value each year, according to the council memo. The owner of a house assessed at Springfield’s median price of about $144,000 would pay roughly $72 per year toward such a bond. Springfield property owners also pay tax levies for police and fire service.

The council memo says that, between April 2018 and June 2019, the city could develop and launch a capital campaign plan, reaching out to potential donors and conducting a feasibility study for the library, among other steps.

The memo says the city could gauge the results about June or July 2019 and decide what to do from there.

FFA Architecture’s study cost $49,000, most of which came from the Springfield Library Foundation and the Betsy Priddy Donor Advised Fund, which supports libraries across Oregon.

Follow Elon Glucklich on Twitter @EGlucklich .