The Falls Church City Council met in a work session at City Hall Monday night with members of the Mary Riley Styles Library Board of Trustees and offered a favorable response to moving ahead with a bond referendum for this November’s ballot to fund an $8.3 million renovation and expansion of the library across from City Hall. If passed this November, the bond referendum would fund planning and construction of the renovations and added square footage of the library on its current location to be completed by the end of 2019 or early 2020.
The Council has yet to vote formally to authorize the referendum, but Monday’s meeting found members in general sympathy and agreement with the Library Board’s wishes. Earlier, the Library Board had said it needed more than twice that amount of money for the renovation and expansion, but that plan included added parking. Now the Library Board will not seek any more parking, knowing that with a City Hall renovation plan coming down the pike, that the City Council has plans to provide new parking in that project that would serve the library’s needs.
Chet DeLong, vice chair of the library board speaking in the absence of chair Brad Gernand, said that population growth has placed great pressures on the library, with 325,000 customers so far this year alone. Board member Stephanie Oppenheimer told the Council that the library is the one institution that serves all the members of the community, young and old, and is “the heart and soul of the community.” Council member David Snyder seconded those remarks.
The new renovations would make the facility Americans for Disabilities Act compliant with, among other things, a new elevator, In addition, there would be an addition of 6,600 square feet of expansion, with plans yet to be finalized for whether that expansion would be best to the east side or west side of the building.
The referendum would be for an $8.3 million bond to be paid back over 20 years at a cost of principal and interest of about $600,000 to $641,000 per year.