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Stevenson Ranch library in the works

Officials meet with residents to discuss potential concerns; $13M earmarked for new library

Posted: February 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Concerns a planned library would squeeze majestic heritage oak trees out of a Stevenson Ranch park are far too premature and unwarranted, county officials said Thursday.

“We would never put a library on a site the community did not embrace,” said Lori Glasgow, deputy to Los Angeles county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “We wouldn’t dream of it.”
Concerns have been reaching the ears of county officials since September, when Antonovich announced plans to build a library in Stevenson Ranch.

His announcement came shortly after the Santa Clarita City Council’s August vote to remove the three libraries within city limits — the Valencia, Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy and Newhall libraries — from the county system and to create a city library system.

With $13 million earmarked for library construction, county planners say they are determined to find a site that’s affordable and endorsed by the community.

Los Angeles County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd and Rosalind Wayman, Antonovich’s Santa Clarita Valley field deputy, sat down with residents of the Southern Oaks community, near Pico Canyon Park, two weeks ago to discuss location options and other issues.

Sites already considered include: Jake Kuredjian Park and Pico Canyon Park, both on Pico Canyon Road, and Dr. Richard Rioux Memorial Park on Faulkner Drive.

“Right now, we’re looking at possible sites,” Todd said. “We want to ask them, ‘Do you want a library?’ and, if they do, ask them ‘What do want in your library?’ and finally, ‘Where do you want your library?

“We said to members of that community: ‘One of the sites we’re looking at is Pico Canyon, what’s your opinion?’ They said they have concerns,” Todd said.

One concern is the possibility a library would encroach on heritage oaks, in particular Old Glory, Santa Clarita Valley’s most famous oak tree. The 400-year-old tree was transplanted to Pico Canyon Park in 2004 to make room for a housing development nearby. An environmental activist lived in the tree for months in protest of its slated removal.

The proposed library will not adversely affect any tree, Glasgow said.

“Every park we have in Stevenson Ranch, every piece of land the county owns is an option,” she said.

“We’re also open to long-term leases,” she said. “Places where we could get a 15- to 20-year lease.

“The most important thing is to provide that service to the community.”

Todd said she emerged from the meeting satisfied that Stevenson Ranch residents sincerely want a library.

“One of the residents who spoke told us, ‘I think a library is very important in Stevenson Ranch,’ and her point was that there are a lot of families in Stevenson Ranch who would use the library,” she said.

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