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Update on the Library Building Project

To everyone working hard to help bring a new Ridgefield Community Library to reality, here’s an update on the project from Amelia Shelley, Director of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District.

“Let me begin with an apology for the lack of communication about the project. Being in the midst of a pandemic has certainly slowed us down, but not dampened our desire to continue with this project. We believe that the challenges brought about by limitations placed on construction by the state can be overcome while still maintaining a safe workplace. The bigger question remains what the long-term economic impact of the crisis will be on the community and the region, and how a new library fits into Ridgefield’s recovery efforts.

FVRL has been in a holding pattern for several months waiting for additional comments coming from the City of Ridgefield about the project. I learned this week from City Manager Steve Stuart that there are no additional comments on the drawings that were submitted for permitting. We have instructed our architects to go ahead with requested revisions, amend the drawings and prepare to resubmit the drawings and specifications for permitting.

Currently, I intend to take the project before the FVRL Board of Trustees for a go/no go decision at their meeting on May 18, 2020. If approved, we are planning on putting the project out to bid in June, hopefully award a contract in July and start construction in August. We will also move into our temporary location at this time. We had hoped to use a book brigade for moving the library. Because of social distancing, that will now depend on timing and what’s allowed for safety.

FVRL is facing many yet to be fully understood challenges from the coronavirus crisis. We are fortunate that our primary funding source is property taxes but that does not shield us entirely from impacts to revenue. Despite these concerns, we’ve had a recent boost to the project from a $500,000 state capital grant through the City of Ridgefield. We are hopeful that with our capital reserves, grants, donations and legislative support, we will be able to move forward with awarding this project in July.

The most frequent question I receive about the Ridgefield project is if we still have funds to raise. I know there are opportunities for donors to support specific items inside the library such as furnishings, art rail, shelving and other enhancements. Information about remaining items in need of funding is available through the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation.

As always, we appreciate the support of the Friends of the Ridgefield Community Library, the City of Ridgefield and our many library patrons. Our hope is that when we reopen, we will have some furnishings and finishes for the community to review and provide feedback on for the new library. Thank you for your continued interest and support!”

Amelia

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