Opinion

Islanders have a chance to weigh in on library location

By Jean Bosch

For The Beachcomber

This week, King County Councilman Dow Constantine will send a survey about the Vashon Library to every registered Island voter. The survey is sponsored by the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council and was created by a committee of VMICC.

The Vashon Library has really been in the news lately.

In February, Dick Sontgerath wrote a commentary in The Beachcomber describing the library as a component of his proposed K2 redevelopment.

A number of Islanders have written letters to the editor about where the next library should be located. There have been editorials about the library siting issue and news stories covering public meetings about the debate.

A group of seniors organized a demonstration in the library foyer and asked for signatures on a petition.

Dow Constantine, who represents Vashon, convened a meeting in his office with the King County Library System (KCLS) and a handful of Islanders to talk about the library.

All of this may seem like a sudden eruption of activity, but it has been a while in the making:

• In 2004, the voters of King County approved a library bond issue that included a new or remodeled 10,000-square-foot library for Vashon.

• Vashon Park District owns the Ober Park land where our library is located. KCLS leases it, a lease that expires in 2017.

• Negotiations between the park district and KCLS to find a place in Ober Park for the new or remodeled library stalled for some time, although those talks have resumed now.

• KCLS board and staff have looked at a number of other places for a new library and seem to have landed on the K2 property as their choice.

Concerned about the lack of opportunity for public comment on this very important decision, a group of Islanders organized to conduct an Island-wide referendum on the question of where a library be located.

The Vashon-Maury Island Community Council agreed to sponsor the effort. We asked for help from Constantine’s office, and he agreed to cover the printing and distribution.

This week every registered voter on Vashon will receive a survey. Islanders aged 18 or over who are not registered can get a ballot from Hilary Emmer at 463-7277.

Please be sure to mail the ballots back or drop off your completed ballot at The Beachcomber by April 3.

Statements supporting two location options and one supporting keeping the library in the town core can be found online at www.kingcounty.gov/constantine, “Vashon Library Survey Information.”

The location of our library will be a shaper of Island activity for generations, and your opinion will help guide that decision.

Please make your voice heard.

— Jean Bosch is president of the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council.

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