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County still searching for home for Stevenson Ranch Library

Posted: March 7, 2013 7:12 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2013 7:12 p.m.

Despite sufficient cash to build a new library in Stevenson Ranch — and the Los Angeles County Library system’s determination to do so — plans are stalled as the search for a site continues.

County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd said Thursday the county has enough money on hand to cover the estimated $16 million cost of the library.

“The real question for us is the location,” Todd said. “We’ve had great difficulty finding a site.”

Funding for the Stevenson Ranch library comes from a couple of sources, including developer fees that are specifically set aside for library construction and funds the city of Santa Clarita used to purchase its library facilities from the county.

During a public meeting with about 50 residents Wednesday, county library officials discussed several different ways to move forward with the project.

One option, Todd said, is to purchase land and construct an entirely new building for the library.

But that appears unlikely, since the county has yet to find a site where it could begin construction within the next year or so, Todd said.

A second option is leasing an existing space, such as in a commercial plaza.

But that, too, is unlikely because of many shopping center restrictions that effectively bar a library, Todd said.
But the county is hoping the green grass of Pico Canyon Park, near the intersection of Pico Canyon Road and Stevenson Ranch Parkway, may provide the solution.

Todd said the county is considering the park as a viable location for the library. To lessen park space lost, Todd said the county might consider building a two-story structure with parking on the first level and the library upstairs.

The county has already carried out this idea once by constructing a similarly designed library in a park in the unincorporated community of Topanga.

But reaction to the proposal at Wednesday’s meeting was mixed, Todd said.

“There really wasn’t a full consensus from the community,” she said. “Some people were concerned about the traffic implications, about people from outside the neighborhood coming in, or about using that space for anything other than a park.”

Moving forward, Todd said, library officials will seek direction from Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich on how best to proceed with the project.

“At the public meeting, the community voiced its strong support for a library, and (the) county library will continue to work with them to find a suitable location,” wrote Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell in an email.

Until then, the library will continue to be in a modular building at Dr. Richard H. Rioux Memorial Park, 26233 Faulkner Dr. in Stevenson Ranch.
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