New Grants Pass Library On The Agenda For Josephine County Library Foundation Public Meetings

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Three community meetings will be held this month to solicit feedback from residents about the Grants Pass Library planned to be built on the entire city block in downtown Grants Pass, Oregon, near the Rogue River, purchased last year by the Josephine Community Library Foundation (JCLF) for $2 million.

Following approval for tax money- a lifeline for the library which closed in 2007 due to a lack of funds, the library plans are now going forward.


New Grants Pass Library In The Design Phase

The library project’s goal is to build the new library in the next three to five years, once fundraising is complete. The site where the library will be built currently houses businesses including the Four Seasons, a Chinese restaurant, and Liberty Tax. These buildings will be demolished to make way for the new library.

Architects and engineers working on the new library for the past year have come up with four potential designs for the new library.

Rebecca Stoltz, the executive director of the Josephine Community Library Foundation said the community will be so much better by the new library, not just with resources such as technology and programming, but also by providing a safe space for people to come together and learn.


Opposition To Grants Pass Library

Library Director Kate Lasky indicated that one of the problems with the current library building is that it’s owned by the county, not the library. This means they can’t really fix it up and maintain it as they would like to, including making changes for security and safety reasons.

She said the roof leaks and the electricity infrastructure was set up 60 years ago. The current building also doesn’t have sufficient meeting space to meet the library’s needs. Meeting rooms and a children’s story time area are two of the many resources planned for the new library.

Depending on which potential library concept residents prefer, the total cost of the new library is currently unknown. Lasky indicated that it could range from $11 million to $30 million and will be paid for through a combination of grants and fundraising.

Residents voted down both a tax district and a levy to fund the library previously and finally approved the current district for the library in 2017. Facing pushback in December when the county gave residents the option of paying local tax to fund the library, legal action was instituted.

The county eventually reversed its decision, leaving all homeowners required to pay the tax again.

Lasky said the location will benefit the community as a whole and said the new library has the potential- and a high likelihood, of revitalizing that part of the Grants Pass downtown. She said, “The businesses neighboring that library will see an increase in foot traffic.”

Three public meetings are planned to give residents a chance to give their feedback: on July 20, 25, and 27. The details of the meetings are on the JCLF website.

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