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Filling a hole in the Central Kitsap community campus

  - Kristin Okinaka/staff photo
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka/staff photo

Melanie Almeida and her family visit the Silverdale library multiple times a week to study, check out materials and use the computers.

It’s about as often as some families visit the grocery store. Being a regular, she is familiar with the wear-and-tear of the current facility.

“I would like to see a library there,” Almeida, 37 said Tuesday of having a new facility at the Central Kitsap Community Campus where the Haselwood YMCA is being built. “I think it could be a great location.”

Almeida, of East Bremerton, voted “yes” for Kitsap Regional Library’s levy lift on November’s ballot, but with 56.16 percent of voters rejecting the levy, it has left library officials and Central Kitsap Community Campus Design Committee members unsure if a library will accompany the YMCA. Although Kitsap Regional Library does not have the money to build a new facility, the idea of reserving a spot on the campus for a future library is being discussed by the design committee.

“The library was the priority component,” said Robert MacDermid, a Silverdale lawyer who is part of the design committee. “Unless there is some sort of public expression to the contrary, we should hold this land and wait until the community is ready to move forward with a new library.”

But in a tight economy, it could take a while.

“It’s tough,” Almeida said. “People don’t want to spend more money for more services.”

Had the library levy passed, an additional $36.5 million would have been provided through property taxes over 10 years, and would have secured an estimated $9 million 17,500 square-foot library for the community campus. There are 11,348 active library cardholders who list Silverdale as their home branch as of July 2010, said library spokesman Jeff Brody. This branch has 45,506 items and an average of 13,500 users per month.

The community campus will be about 12 acres but “nothing is set in stone” as to what will be part of the campus, said Angie Silva, special projects planner with the county Commissioners Office, who is also part of the design committee. Discussions on creating senior housing, a performing arts center and future city hall have been addressed by the committee as well. The design committee is in the process of creating a vision statement with design standards to present to county commissioners by the end of the year, which is part of the approval process for the master plan.

“I like the dream that was behind the campus, a green space where families can come to enjoy a lot of activities,” Kitsap Regional Library Director Jill Jean said. “We do agree that the community campus would be a great site to build on.” She added that the library district is keeping its options open for a new Silverdale library, which may include leasing out an existing building rather than building a new facility.

Although there are residents like Almeida who are in support for a new library as a part of the community campus, there are others who have no idea what they would like to see placed next to the YMCA.

“I can’t think of anything I want to see there,” said Dan Hicks of Seabeck. “I haven’t been in a library for at least five years.”

Hicks, 74, who voted against the library levy, said he doesn’t go to the public library because he has 3,000 videos and 5,000 books at home.

As the last portion of concrete was poured to create the indoor track Wednesday, Haselwood YMCA Director Geoff Ball said a community-oriented organization that brings energy to the campus would complement the YMCA.

“We think we’re good neighbors,” Ball said. “Any community-based organization would be a good fit.”

Next design committee meeting:

-Jan. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m.

-At the Silverdale Community Center’s evergreen room, 9729 Silverdale Way

-To discuss pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities on campus

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