Officials break ground on new Pasco library

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldSeptember 13, 2012 

With four kids ages 5 years to 6 months, Brook Black is a regular at Mid-Columbia Libraries, but her closest branch is more than six miles away.

That will change come early January, when Mid-Columbia Libraries opens its newest branch at the intersection of Road 76 and Wrigley Drive, less than a block from her west Pasco home.

"We'll be able to walk to storytime," she said.

Workers already have started work at the site but officials with the library district and community organizations broke ground on the new building Wednesday. It will be the district's 12th facility and the latest since the Benton City branch opened in 2006.

Officials said years of work went into bringing the project to fruition, and fiscal responsibility led to it being built without asking for more money from the public. Most of all, though, it's something that will meet the needs of booming west Pasco.

"This is really something that the community will use," said Martin Valadez, president of Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Developer Dennis Gisi is building the 6,000-square-foot library to be part of a larger development near a couple of subdivisions and other commercial areas near Road 68.

Gisi will own the building, and the library district will lease it for a total of $1.1 million for a 10-year period.

Gloria Garcia, president of the Mid-Columbia Libraries board, said the new branch was a project she and others have worked on since 2009 and is being built at a time when most library districts are closing facilities.

The district is using money in its general fund and other accounts to pay the lease and to furnish and stock it with materials with no need to increase taxes.

In addition to the books and other items most expect from a library, Garcia said the facility will be state-of-the-art when it comes to technological resources.

"There are still some people who don't have computers, and hopefully we'll be filling that gap for them," she said.

A drive-through window for picking up and dropping off books will be a new feature.

Executive Director Kyle Cox said the drive-through will be the second in Washington and is meant to add convenience for library users.

The library district is excited to be putting the new branch in a booming part of town. District Vice President Sandra LePage said a bookmobile has served the area but the fast and immense growth of the area indicated a full library was needed.

The current library branch is closer to downtown Pasco.

-- Ty Beaver: 582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com

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