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One step closer for San Carlos Library

Posted: January 20th, 2017 | Communities, Features, News, San Carlos, Top Stories | No Comments

By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large

Long-awaited facility still needs funding

We now have a very good idea what the new San Carlos branch library will look like.

We also have a much more uncertain view of when it might look like that.

Architect David Pfeifer showed the drawings and schematics of the long-awaited facility to the Navajo Community Planners at the group’s Jan. 11 meeting, and it revealed a 25,000-square-foot library and community center that has been the dream of library supporters since at least 1995, and probably much earlier.

The basic function of a library is, of course, making books available for the public, and the proposed library will house 72,000 volumes in its shelves.

The library, when built, will offer greatly expanded children’s and adult’s sections, computer areas with Wi-Fi availability, and plenty of meeting spaces for the many community groups that need meeting space.

There will also be much more parking than is currently available.

In other words, lots of good stuff that every library ought to offer.

“We’ve been working on this for a few days — about 40 years’ worth of days,” said former City Councilmember Judy McCarty. “I’m so happy to see this.”

An artist rendering of the front of the proposed San Carlos Library (Courtesy of San Carlos Friends of the Library)

That’s the good news.

The less-than-good news is no one knows when this all might change from beautiful drawings on a website to shovels turning over dirt.

There are a couple of reasons for that.

One is that the portion of land to be used at Jackson and Golfcrest Drives used to be a gas station, and still might have soil pollution problems that need to be cleaned up before that land can be used for any purpose, other than the makeshift parking lot it now is.

Atlantic Richfield is working to drill another test well on the property. That should answer the questions about pollution, once the county health people and the Environmental Protection Agency give approval.

The money is in the bank to buy that land once all that is done — about $2 million.

Judy Williams from Friends of the San Carlos Library is one of the supporters who have been, and will continue to be, active in fundraising efforts.

“We’ve been working all along, knowing this day would come, but we do have a long way to go,” she said.

A view of the back of the proposed San Carlos Library (Courtesy of San Carlos Friends of the Library)

Yes, they do.

As presented to the NCPI board, the current estimated cost of the new library is just north of $20 million.

That cost could rise, as construction costs always seem to.

City approvals should present no real problems, as several city councils over the years have said they understand the need for the new San Carlos facility.

The process is underway, finally.

We’ll see how fast it can move from here on out.

—Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at doug@sdcnn.com.

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