Friends of the Point Roberts Library April 2016

By Judy Ross

The new library was a subject of discussion at two Point Roberts park district meetings in March. Forty Point Roberts residents attended the first meeting.

There was virtually unanimous support for placing the levy on the ballot, and repeated suggestions for making the levy twice the minimum amount needed, since the actual construction will undoubtedly run into issues that will require more spending. The commissioners suggested that they would begin planning for this levy.

At the second meeting, held five days later, the commissioners allotted about 40 minutes to the new library. Instead of developing a timeline to get the levy on the ballot, new chairman Linda Hughes announced her absolute opposition to putting any levy on the ballot.

She then suggested that a cheaper library be built, using only the money that the Friends of the Point Roberts Library (FOPRL) had raised ($540,000), implying that the park district should not be involved in raising any money to turn the Julius Fire Hall into a suitable library space.

The park district had previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding legally obliging it either to provide gap funding or to put a levy on the ballot to pay for it. Yet the remaining discussion at the meeting was about whether the building could be entirely redesigned and built more cheaply, and whether an internet survey would help to determine community support for the new library.

FOPRL expects the park district to honor its agreement to place a levy on the ballot by doing just that. FOPRL accepts the existing overall design (which has already cost over $36,000) and does not contemplate any major changes.

However, many residents have expressed concern about the adequacy of the foundation. If David King (the architect hired by the park district) judges that an entirely new, raised foundation is an acceptable plan, then FOPRL will endorse that option.

On April 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the community center, these and other issues (including future features from Whatcom County Library Services) will be discussed at the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Point Roberts Library. We very much hope that many of you will come to that meeting to help us plan our next steps.

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