Milwaukie library shortfall narrows to $1 million
Milwaukie's plan to rebuild Ledding Library received a $300,000 boost from the state this month, leaving about a $1 million shortfall toward the city's construction project.
State Rep. Karin Power, a Democrat who previously served as a Milwaukie city councilor, was instrumental in helping Ledding Library receive the funding through an allocation under House Bill 5201, which granted millions of dollars in various emergency appropriations throughout Oregon. Milwaukie city staff are still working to close the shortfall through architectural cost-saving measures and by applying for grants through various foundations, charitable trusts and the Institute of Museums & Library Services.
"As a Milwaukie resident and library patron myself, I know how vital this project is to our community and surrounding neighborhoods," Power said. "I am grateful to my legislative colleagues who joined me in allocating resources for the Ledding Library, and it's an honor to help bring this next phase to fruition."
Power was a member of a steering committee for the Ledding Library bond measure and the Library Expansion Task Force. City Councilor Angel Falconer, chair of the library construction task force, thanked the Oregon Legislature for its commitment to the project.
"We're thrilled by this news and incredibly grateful for the work Representative Power did on Milwaukie's behalf to secure this funding," Falconer said. "The state's contribution to the library will help ensure that our community's vision becomes reality."
In 2016, Milwaukie voters passed the $9.2 million bond measure to provide the library with seismic upgrades, improved community meeting space and new technology. After the measure's passage, city officials determined that a new building would be more cost effective and earthquake resilient.
Jordan Imlah, a spokesperson for the city, said Milwaukie is working with the architecture firm to identify cost-saving measures while still meeting the needs of the community. He said that the library project finds itself dealing with a significant shortfall due to rapidly rising construction costs around the region.
"The project team is still looking over some options in the design to find ways of reducing the overall cost, while still creating an innovative building that provides services at a high-level," Imlah said.
Imlah said that the project is still on track for breaking ground this summer. Another community meeting to discuss the evolving plans for library construction is set for 6 to 8 p.m. April 24, at a location still to be determined.
"Right now, fundraising for the project is one of the most helpful activities to get involved with," Imlah said. "If the community would like to donate to the project, they can contact [Library Director] Katie Newell or [City Manager] Ann Ober and they will gladly facilitate that."
Checks made payable to "Friends of the Ledding Library" are accepted at the circulation desk, 10660 S.E. 21st Ave, Milwaukie, during library hours Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m. More information can be found at milwaukieoregon.gov/library.