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Survey results will flavor library talks

A committee probing a future of the Lake Oswego Library will use a recent public survey as fodder for whether to move it to a proposed community center in Lake Grove or open a branch there.

The recent survey of community center supporters shows that the location of the library won't change attendance patterns for those users, 47 percent of which said they would use the library more often if it were in Lake Grove.

City officials say the survey is unscientific - 1,200 people responded to the outreach effort, which queried Lake Oswego's 22,000 homes.

Brant Williams, director of community center development for the city of Lake Oswego, said the comments would be treated as public testimony in upcoming talks about the library's future.

The Community Center Steering Committee is weighing public comments as they design amenities for a proposed community center. Their proposal will reach voters by the end of 2008.

Williams said the results of the survey show the city inquiry into a community center is headed in the right direction.

'This actually kind of reaffirms the direction the steering committee is going in looking at fitness, pools and, of course, the library facility,' he said.

Respondents to the survey said they would use those activities as most frequently in a community center, followed by a gym and an indoor play area.

Overall, the group named walking as their top recreational activity. Walking was closely followed by weight training, aerobics, jogging and family activities. Of those surveyed, 93 percent were age 35 or older.

Their input will be funneled to the Community Center Steering Committee when the group meets Sept. 13. At that meeting, committee members will continue talks about whether to bring a new branch of the Lake Oswego Library to the proposed community center or relocate the current library to the Lake Grove site. The land for the community center was purchased by the city of Lake Oswego July 7 for $20 million and is at 4101 Kruse Way.

Moving some city offices to the 14-acre site, the current home of Safeco Insurance, is also a likely part of the plan.

Williams said any community center could call for moving the city's parks and recreation department from city hall to the Lake Grove building. The move would free space in city hall, which is currently under evaluation for space, seismic and mold problems in a separate project headed by Williams.

Recommendations by the Community Center Steering Committee will eventually be brought before the Lake Oswego City Council.

An architectural design firm is expected to begin its work on the proposal this fall, relying on recommendations from the steering committee. A financial inquiry will follow. Voters still have the final say on whether to approve a community center. That vote is expected by the end of 2008 but could come as early as spring 2007.

For more information, visit www.lakeoswegocommunitycenter.org.

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Of 1,200 respondents to a recent city survey about the community center:

89 percent currently participate in city programs

63 percent already belong to a fitness club

75 percent were female and most lived in households without children

14 percent live alone

40 percent live in two-person households

46 percent live in a household with three or more people

The survey is unscientific. 22,000 households received the questionnaire, distributed by mail with the city newsletter.