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Library, ACC options are viewed by Safeco panel

The steering committee for the new community center at the current Safeco site in Lake Grove met once again Sept. 13 to continue discussions on transferring part or all of the Lake Oswego library from its current location downtown. Members also heard proposals for moving a portion of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center to the new site

The options for the library, which is virtually bursting at the seams in its current state, have been narrowed down to two possibilities. The first would move the entire library to the Safeco site and would occupy roughly 65,000 square feet in the new center.

Another option proposes two sister libraries in Lake Oswego. One would still be moved into the Safeco site and use approximately 43,000 square feet under current projections while the downtown building on Fourth Street and G Avenue would remain open as well, albeit with a needed remodel.

Members of the committee have heard projections and recognize that there are large plusses and minuses to both scenarios.

Operating two sister libraries would be considerably more expensive when costs for maintenance, staffing and a remodel are considered, not to mention the fact that the city estimates that it would receive close to $3 million if it was to sell the current library building.

But some committee members also pointed out that the amount of loyalty that the community has towards the current library cannot be underestimated and that there are larger issues than financial ones that should be taken into consideration.

'Both options are still viable. The economic issue is significant but having libraries in both locations has benefits as well,' said Brant Williams, director of Community Center Development.

At last week's meeting, committee members also listened to an overview from employees of the Adult Community Center. Proposals suggest moving a large portion of the center's services to the Safeco site.

Brenda Suteu, manager of the ACC, and Kim Gilmer, Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation director, gave an overview of the center's facilities as well as a brief discussion for the future.

'That information was new and helpful and the committee will be able to factor it into its decision-making,' Williams said.

Currently, the ACC is located at 505 G Ave. The proposal would still keep that building open while moving a number of activities to the Safeco site in an attempt to reach out to a new group of seniors.

'A growing number of younger seniors are simply not coming into the ACC. We have found that they want an intergenerational community, not isolated centers. They want to do meaningful service projects and stay physically fit,' Suteu said.

Estimates showed that the ACC would need roughly 5,500 square feet in the new location.

Towards the end of last week's meeting, the steering committee and members of the public in attendance got to see very early plans for where certain facilities might fit in the new community center.

A dramatic remodel and addition to the building is proposed, one that, according to early models, could double the size of the current building.

The proposals took into consideration the entire library moving to the site along with the ACC. Along with those facilities, plans for a pool, gyms, locker rooms a potential skate park and parking structure were included.

This Saturday, the committee will meet for a work session and will attempt to make preliminary decisions on the issues of the library and ACC before a public workshop is held Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Safeco building.

'The committee will hope to have a preliminary recommendation before the public workshop and before their proposal to the city council. Their goal is to provide the best service for the community,' Williams said.

Members of the public are invited to attend on that date but should RSVP to Williams beforehand at 503-635-6138.

After a proposal is decided on, a finance strategy will also be discussed. The committee will attempt to ease the burden on taxpayers as much as possible but a bond will almost assuredly be placed on an upcoming ballot.

For more information on the new community center, visit www.lakeoswegocommunitycenter.org.