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Library bond to run again in May

ARLINGTON Since the city of Arlington and the Sno-Isle Libraries have agreed to rerun the bond, the Arlington Library Bond Committee is kicking off its efforts this year with a strategic planning meeting Feb. 7, at 6 p.m., in the Local Scoop.
George Boulton, chair of the Library Bond Committee, and Karen Hobson, chair of the citys Library Board, hope to recruit enough volunteers to make up for their near-miss two years ago.
It has to be approved by a 60 percent majority, Hobson said. The last time we ran the bond, in 2006, we lost by 29 votes.
Although the cost of building a new library in Arlington has increased, from $8.1 million in 2006 to $8.8 million now, the increase in Arlingtons population means that the cost per $1,000 in assessed valuation over the next 20 years for property owners has gone down, from $0.18 in 2006 to $0.14 now.
As with the previous bond, plans call for the new library to be sited across from the current library on Washington Avenue, on land own by the city of Arlington, which it will donate for a new library.
Boulton explained that nearly 60 percent of survey participants wanted the new library at this site, which is within walking distance of more than 3,000 students.
Two measures were run on the bond in 2006, the first for a Library Capital Facility Area, and the second to fund a new library for the Arlington community. An LCFA is an independent taxing authority and district, and Arlington School District voters formed the Arlington LCFA within the boundaries of the ASD, east of I-5 and north of 164th, in 2000. The property owners of the LCFA would pay for a new library. In 2006, voters passed the LCFA but did not pass the funding for the new library. This year, both measures will be on the ballot again.
Boulton and Hobson explained that the new library would sport an updated and larger building, allowing for new book collections, DVDs, CDs, quiet reading areas, study rooms, a community room, improved staff working areas, more than 30 computers, new reference resources related to meeting life challenges, and sufficient parking.
Id encourage people to stop by the existing library, especially after school, to see how cramped and busy it is, said Boulton, who noted the Arlington Library service area grew from 12,000 in 1980 to 28,000 in 2005, and cited statistics showing that the local population will swell to 41,000 by 2025.
If the bond passes, the current library will be converted into a community center, which Hobson sees a need for in Arlington, while the city is working on relocating its garden to another site.
Boulton identified publicity and finance personnel as among the bond campaigns most pressing needs, and promised that its Web site, at www.newarlingtonlibrary.org, would be up as soon as they had a Web master to run it. In the meantime, he encouraged those interested in volunteering to call him at 360-435-3301.

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