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Is new library 'jewel' of community campus concept?

Amid all the fuss about the planned “Community Campus” — aka redeveloped and refurbished Old Town Silverdale — a group is lobbying to build a new library at the heart of the project.

“We’re forming a ‘political action committee’ (PAC) called ‘Citizens for a New Central Kitsap Library,’” said Art Walther, president of CK Kiwanis. “We’re looking for volunteers.”

Co-chairs of the budding group are local activist Mary Earl and himself, he said. He spoke up at the end of a recent Community Campus workshop. Other PAC members listed on documents distributed at the meeting, Sept. 26, included Joanne Peterschmidt, Sari Perlow, Hank Mann-Sykes, Natalie Bryson, Betty Koster, Steve Miller, Ellen Newberg, Ray Frederick and Betty Koster.

Mann-Sykes and Bryson are CK Community Council (CKCC) members. Newberg is director of the Kitsap Regional Library system. Perlow is on the system’s board of trustees.

Walther distributed a volunteer sheet, citing a need for people to write for the group, set out yard signs, conduct fundraising, staff a phone bank, or join a speakers bureau to talk to groups.

“Mary and I worked weekly on a task force to come up with the priorities and plans you see today,” said Walther at the campus meeting. “The library and senior housing are the keystones of a 20-year plan.”

The Community Campus is part of CKCC’s “Visioning 2022” growth-management-area master plan (GMA). Unincorporated GMA’s are the rough equivalent of incorporated cities within the county. They are true communities, which have yet to be incorporated. The CKCC task force worked with consultants from Lewis Architecture & Interior Design of Bellevue on the campus designs. (See CK Reporter, Oct. 2 issue.)

Walther said PAC members wanted the library to be more than a box, but something beautifully designed so that “Those who drive by will say ‘Wow!’” He said the new PAC will work for a bond issue for the library, hopefully to appear on the Feb 4, 2003 ballot.

“I believe we have enough support in the community — 50 percent or better — to pass the bond,” said Walther.

In a recent library newsletter also distributed at the meeting, Newberg said Initiative 747 restricted library budget increases to 1 percent a year. Total system circulation of library material at nine sites in Kitsap County has surpassed two million in 2001, she said.

The Kitsap Regional Library Foundation 2001 budget was also released: It started with $38,167, received $22,538 in contributions, and ended with a $48,813 balance after $13,883 in expenses. The foundation is a non-profit organization set up to augment public funds for the library system.

The current library, at 3450 N.W. Carlton in Old Town, has about 5,000 square feet of space. The new library would reportedly include community meeting rooms, new technology, a large children’s area and senior housing upstairs.

The new Silverdale library with its 67,000-person service area could expand to 31,000 square feet, said library system spokeswoman, Audry Newell. Supporters said a new library, if approved by voters, could be open by spring of 2005.

Sept. 26 was the first workshop meeting between the public and principals of Lewis Architecture to pick a rough draft of the community campus. Four versions were presented. The proposed campus is bordered by Carlton Street on the south, Dyes Inlet on the east, Bucklin Hill Road to the north, and Silverdale Way to the west.

For more information on the library aspect, contact Walther at 692-6075, or e-mail him at walther@tscnet.com.

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