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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Why are we building a new branch of the Santa Monica Public Library?
Since the 1983 Pico Neighborhood Community Plan, the community has expressed a desire for a neighborhood library. Focus group meetings held in September 2008 verified the value of a library facility and programs for the Pico neighborhood, with a preference for the Virginia Avenue Park location. In May 2009, the City Council allocated Redevelopment funds to construct the branch in the park. Between September 2010 and April 2011, five community workshops were held for the public to provide input on the new branch library
2. Why is this library being built in the park?
Several factors influenced the decision. The combination of limited City funds, the original restrictions of Redevelopment funding, and the lack of affordable private property for sale favored the City-owned park site. It was also felt that the services offered by a branch library would work well with park programs.
3. What will happen to the Fairview Branch Library?
Following the opening of the Pico Branch Library, plans are to temporarily close the Fairview Branch Library for interior renovations in summer 2014. Similar to the improvements at the Montana Avenue Branch in 2012 and the Ocean Park Branch in 2011, the Fairview Branch will get new: carpet and paint, adult book and media shelving, service desk, more self check stations, reconfigured adult computer area and more.
4. How is the new branch being paid for?
The City Council had originally earmarked Redevelopment money for this project from the 1994 Earthquake recovery zone. When Santa Monica's Redevelopment Agency was dissolved as part of a statewide move, the City designated $10.8 million from general and capital improvement funds for this priority project.
Project costs include branch library construction and opening costs, equipment, fixtures, furnishings, and the opening day collection of library materials. Other associated costs and contingencies include design and construction management fees, contingencies for hazardous materials and unforeseen conditions, specialty inspections (geotechnical, material testing, waterproofing and commissioning for LEED certification), and utilities connections.
5. What will happen to the Farmers Market during construction?
The market will continue, with only a few vendors being relocated within the Farmers Market zone during construction.
6. How will additional parking demand be resolved?
A study showed that existing parking is sufficient for both park and library uses except during Saturday morning's Farmers Market. It is assumed that many patrons of the new branch library will be drawn from the same community that currently utilizes Virginia Avenue Park and the market. Additional bicycle racks will be installed; and a bike valet will be added to the Farmers Market on Saturdays.
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