The library district will have to work with the city of Bend on annexation
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- While 53% of participating Deschutes County voters last fall approved a bond measure that would construct a "world-class" Central Library just north of the Bend city limits, along Hwy. 20, there's still a major hurdle to clear before construction can start, and some critics of the project are pressing their case.
Since the land the new Central Library is to be built on is just outside of the city limits, the Deschutes Public Library will need to work with city councilors to annex the land into the city limits. Todd Dunkelberg, the library district district's director, told NewsChannel 21 Thursday that could cause delays, which will ultimately affect taxpayers.
"The longer delays we have will be more of a cost to our county and the taxpayers in Deschutes County," Dunkelberg said.
At Wednesday's Deschutes Public Library Board meeting, a few members of the public voiced their frustration with the planned Central Library's location, including current City Councilor Anthony Broadman and Council on Aging of Central Oregon Board President Louis Capozzi.
Capozzi wrote an open letter to the board stating a number of matters he had issue with.
Capozzi wrote, "There are a number of concerns affecting our aging population regarding both the location and the plan. We strongly prefer that more resources be put into expansion and enhancement of our community libraries, where your key audiences reside. … How would an elderly person in La Pine make the 60-mile round trip to the location you have chosen?"
Dunkelberg said the Central Library, which is slated for a 2023 construction start date, will also improve Highway 20 accessibility by adding a bike lane.
"We really feel like we owe it to our voting public to continue with this project," Dunkelberg said. "We are moving forward with the expectation that this is the property for us and that we will be successful in building the building."
The library plans to meet with architects in July to start the design process. Dunkelberg added that the public will be included in the design process later this year, in September.