Opinion

A new library needed

Silverdale is at the crossroads of determining whether it will have a new library.

Residents were invited to a forum last evening that gave them the opportunity to voice their opinion about a new library and where it should be located.

The forum, sponsored by the Central Kitsap Community Council, was part of an ongoing conversation about the Central Kitsap Community Campus. The council has already addressed a desire by some in the community to locate a new performing arts center on the campus.

Now it’s the library’s turn to be heard.

Jeff Brody, director of community relations for the Kitsap Regional Library system, of which Silverdale’s current library is a member, said that there are a number of possibilities for locations for a new library. One of them is on the Central Kitsap Community Campus.

The campus has been in various stages of “visioning” for the past 10 to 15 years. Locating the Haselwood Branch of the YMCA on the campus was the first major development. Now, there’s more work to be done.

The campus property is large enough to house both a performing arts center and a new library, if that is the public’s desire. It will mean tearing down an existing community center and a Kitsap County Sheriff’s substation. It may mean relocating some apartment housing and businesses in a small area east of the YMCA, too.

While other locations for the library are being talked about, the message is clear that a new library is needed. Silverdale’s current library can’t meet the needs of a growing population in the Central Kitsap area.

Now comes the hard part. The community needs to come together to determine where it wants the library and how to afford it. Previous ballot measures to fund a new library have failed. Thus, the community will have to raise money for the library.

It only makes sense to have the YMCA, the performing arts center and the library within walking distance of each other. There’s plenty of property in the surrounding area that can be purchased and used for parking. And the idea to add senior and income-assisted housing nearby is a great one. Add in some park-like green spaces and it will be something that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Projects like this will take community support and a combination of private and public funding.

But one thing is clear: If plans aren’t made and followed soon, residents of Central Kitsap may not get another opportunity to have a great centerpiece like this one anytime in the future.

 

 

 

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