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City of Renton

Proposition No. 1
Vote to Select a Library Site Downtown

After Renton voters chose to join King County Library System (KCLS), Renton contracted with KCLS to provide a state of the art library in downtown Renton. The library will be located at EITHER the existing library location over the Cedar River (100 Mill Ave. South), OR West of the Renton Piazza (508 South 3rd Street). If the Piazza site is chosen, Renton will keep the existing library building for alternative public use in the future.

Which location should be the site of the downtown library?

Over the Cedar River

West of the Piazza

In 2010, Renton citizens voted to annex to the King County Library System (KCLS).  The annexation required Renton to fund and construct two new state of the art libraries to replace Renton’s two existing libraries. Initially, the city proposed to locate the new downtown library at the site of the old Big 5 store west of the downtown Piazza and purchased that land.   Since then, the Renton City Council decided to conduct a popular vote regarding the location of the new library in downtown.  Voters are being asked to choose the location for the new downtown library construction. There are two locations under consideration: The existing library over the Cedar River (100 Mill Ave. S.), and the site west of the Piazza (508 S. 3rd  St.). The city has projected it will cost $10,100,000 to substantially renovate the existing Cedar River library to state of the art library standards.  There may be an additional $400,000 cost for temporary relocation of the library during that construction.  The combined amount exceeds the current budget for the downtown library development. The proposed new downtown location west of the Piazza is projected to cost, including land acquisition, $9,300,000.  This is the amount budgeted. If voters choose the site west of the Piazza, the existing library building will be repurposed for future alternative public use. If the Cedar River location is chosen, the site west of the Piazza would be repurposed or sold. Repurposing of either location will require additional undetermined funding. 

In favor of “Over the Cedar River”


Suggestions that the Cedar River location would exceed the budget are misleading. Two clauses in the agreement with KCLS allow for changes to the project/design to keep within budget. A 22,500 sq/ft State-of-the-Art library on Cedar River will be 50% larger than the 15,000 sq/ft proposal at the other location and cost 32.9% less per sq/ft. Renovating Cedar River Library amounts to a family-sized bargain for taxpayers, and good stewardship of revenue. The “real cost” of building a SMALLER library at the other location, rather than keeping and renovating Cedar River Library, would include millions of unbudgeted tax dollars to repurpose the vacated Cedar River Library for “alternate use.” That repurposing could double our cost. A renovated flagship KCLS library over the Cedar River at Liberty Park will continue to be a cornerstone tying our community together. With ample dedicated off-street parking, family-friendly open spaces free of traffic, and many surrounding recreational opportunities, there really is no better place. Consider the real costs. The Cedar River Library will be “state-of-the-art”, be 50% BIGGER, be CHEAPER costing 32.9% less per sq/ft and will eliminate the need to repurpose a vacated city property at future taxpayer expense. Vote Cedar River Library. 

In favor of “West of the Piazza”


Renton’s new library location next to the Piazza provides Renton great opportunities for several reasons. A new light-filled state of the art library with great visibility, onsite parking, centrally located in the downtown business district immediately extends the downtown hub adjacent to the Piazza and the Pavilion. This new library will provide expanded services to our citizens while lowering building and operating costs. This also allows the existing library building over the river to be re-purposed as an environmental center, giving Renton two fantastic assets for just slightly more than the cost of one extensive remodel to the existing library. Being centrally located the new library would open onto the Farmers Market, downtown festivals, car shows, Renton Art Walk and other great community events. Patrons can easily walk to and take advantage of Renton’s nearby downtown businesses. The library also becomes a key component to redevelopment of the downtown.


The clear choice for the new library providing the highest level of service with minimal investment is the new library location west of the Piazza Park. Please vote for the Piazza Park Library that will serve our community and future generations for the next 50 years.

Rebuttal of “West of the Piazza”

Don’t be misled again. Libraries don’t drive commerce. Downtown revitalization deserves effective solutions.  Moving our library isn't the answer. The opposition wants you to believe you can have two buildings for one price, but it’s impossible. The city doesn’t have, $5-10 million to repurpose the existing library as an environmental center, nor millions more each year for operating costs. Moving the library would mean more taxes and less library. Vote for the Cedar River Library.

Statement submitted by: Stuart Avery, Beth Asher, and Nicola Robinson

Rebuttal of “Over the Cedar River”

The West Piazza Library (15,000 Feet) and existing library (22,500 Feet) total 37,000 feet for little more than the costly, complex remodel of the old building, likely subject to cost overruns. Costs to repurpose for a non-library use are significantly less. This is nearly TWICE as much area and avoids a minimum two year closure. The library professionals of KCLS have designed an exceptional Piazza library. Vote for the right location: West of Piazza Park.

Statement submitted by: Laurie Beden, King Parker, and John Galluzzo



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