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A partnership worth pursuing in Cornelius

As is usually the case in this business, the list of things we don't know about a specific subject is much longer than a tally of certainties. That's certainly true with the just-announced idea of a new senior housing complex and library in Cornelius.

We don't know whether federal funding for the $13.5 million project will come through.

We don't know whether library supporters could really raise $2.5 million.

We don't know whether it's fair for the city to ask property owners to pony up another $2 million.

In fact, we don't even know whether this project makes sense.

Nonetheless, we applaud those involved for looking at a creative solution to a long-standing problem.

Libraries have evolved into far more than book-lending buildings. They are now educational centers, employment resources and community gathering places. Cornelius could use a modern facility, but is hampered by a lack of funds.

Enter a nonprofit housing developer looking to build housing for low-income senior citizens. Thanks to a bit of timely match-making by José Rivera at Centro Cultural, city leaders have been meeting with officials of Bienestar, a 30-year-old Hillsboro development corporation with deep roots in Washington County.

Five years ago, Forest Grove benefited from it's partnership with Pacific University to revamp Lincoln Park and create Thatcher Park, leveraging improvements it couldn't afford on its own.

Cornelius may be poised to realize similar benefits by putting a new library under housing units.

There are certainly a lot of details to be worked out, many of them attached to dollar signs, but Cornelius officials deserve praise for thinking big - and thinking collaboratively.



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