Proposed Astoria Library Improvement Bond
Building Project History
For many years, the City
Council has declared a goal to create a 21st-century library in Astoria, either
through new construction or renovation of the existing building. The current
library building opened in 1967 and has not been significantly updated since.
The building is aging and requires basic improvements to the plumbing,
electrical, lighting, and heating/cooling systems. Additionally, the roof,
which has been patched over the years, needs to be replaced and the flooring
should be renewed.
In 2013, the Council engaged
the services of library consultant Ruth Metz to conduct a needs assessment study. The study, which received input from several
hundred Astoria residents, identified the following priorities:
- More space
dedicated to children, providing a place to engage in activities that develop
language and literacy skills
- Dedicated zones
for children and teens, plus small and large meeting room spaces
- More natural
- Spaces and
activities that bring people together.
In 2016 the Council voted
3-2 against building a new library in Heritage Square as part of a mixed-use
project, citing cost concerns. The Council next looked at expanding into the
old Waldorf Hotel, which shares a wall with the library. Preservationists spoke
against the proposal and the Council decided not to move forward with this course
In 2017, the City contracted
with David Wark, principal architect with Hennebery Eddy, to create conceptual
plans for renovating the existing library building, using the Metz study as a
starting point. He presented his plans to the Council in July 2018. The plans
shed new light on the all of the possibilities and community programming that
could be accomplished through a thoughtful renovation of the existing building.
Especially attractive was the possibility of opening the buildings lower level and
almost doubling the library’s public space.
In January 2022, the Council
voted to make a final decision on the library by the end of the year. Depending
on polling, the Council either would ask voters to consider approval of a bond
measure for a full renovation, or would use cash on hand to remove the
mezzanine and, to the extent possible, address basic items of deferred maintenance.
Based on positive polling
results, the Council, on June 20, 2022, voted to submit to the electors of the
City the question of authorizing up to $8 million of General Obligation bonds
to renovate the Astoria Public Library. The bond measure will appear on the
November 2022 ballot.
The total estimated cost of
the renovation is $10 million. The City has $2.1 million in hand, plus $500,000
in a 3:1 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the
Logan Fund, which will be released if the bond passes. This leaves a balance of
$8 million, the amount the Council will put forward in a ballot measure for a
General Obligation Bond issuance over a maximum 21-year term. The estimated
levy rate would be $0.57 per $1,000 assessed value (AV).
July 2018 Conceptual Plans