FVRL to negotiate for Washougal library site

Board gives Amelia Shelley permission to discuss purchase with developer

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Washougal residents could be a step closer to seeing a new library.

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District Board of Trustees has authorized Executive Director Amelia Shelley to engage in negotiations to purchase property for the future Washougal Community Library.

The resolution was approved Dec. 12.

FVRL District Communications and Marketing Director Tak Kendrick said Shelley has not engaged in any negotiations yet.

“Amelia wants to first talk to a real estate attorney on the parameters for what she can and can’t negotiate,” he said. “This hasn’t happened yet, but should happen soon.”

The location of the potential library site is not being released.

“The site is in downtown Washougal, but due to the nature of the negotiations we are not yet making the exact location or name of the developer public,” Kendrick said.

The site of a recent demolition was mentioned two years ago as meeting criteria such as accessibility and visibility, for a future library. The 5,500-square-foot former First Interstate Bank building at 1625 Main St., in Washougal, was demolished in November.

The land is owned by Lone Wolf Development.

“I do not know if they are interested [in that property],” said Lone Wolf owner Wes Hickey. “We have had very general conversations over the years with FVRL and the city as that site [was] possibly being an option as part of a larger mixed-use project.

“[It was] only an idea or concept without really looking at the specifics as to what would really be required,” he added.

Another site previously mentioned as meeting the accessibility and visibility criteria is a city-owned parcel that is currently a gravel parking lot next to City Hall, at 1725 “C” St.

In April 2016, Shelley said three potential sites for a new library in Washougal had been identified. Their locations were not released to the public.

The Washougal library, at 1661 “C” St., is currently 2,400 square feet.

“Our plans at this point have been to have the library in a 10,000 to 12,000 square foot space,” Kendrick said.

The 2017 FVRL operations budget includes $26 million for expenditures.

Supporters of the Woodland and Ridgefield libraries are also hoping to relocate into larger spaces.

Kendrick said the FVRL budget does not include specific figures for each of the proposed locations.

After the sites are identified, a full budget would be developed and focused fundraising would occur.

“We will work with the Friends of the Washougal Community Library and FVRL Foundation to establish budgets and fundraising priorities to meet the needs,” Kendrick said.

The FVRL has more than $1 million set aside in reserve funds dedicated to each of the three building projects to serve as seed money for fundraising efforts.

“It’s our hope that the community could finance a good portion, if not all, of the need through donations rather than having to go to a bond,” Kendrick said.

A previous cost estimate for construction of a 12,830-square-foot, one-story building in Washougal was estimated to be $3.2 million to $3.4 million. That did not include the cost of the site, as well as $800,000 to $900,000 in indirect project costs, $330,000 to $340,000 for furniture and shelving, $130,000 to $140,000 for technology and $90,000 to $110,000 for an automatic materials handling system.

A two-story building was estimated to cost an additional 10 percent, to cover the cost of an elevator and stairs. A major renovation/upgrade of a one-story building would cost approximately $2.2 million to $2.4 million. The total would be $3.31 million to $3.64 million, after soft costs and other expenses are added.

Paying for construction will involve FVRL funding, as well as private donations and money raised by the Friends and Foundation.