The San Diego City Council on May 20 unanimously accepted $10 million from two donors ($5 million each) to complete funding for the long-overdue Mission Hills/Hillcrest Branch Library. The San Diego Public Library Foundation had previously received a firm commitment for the donation.
The $10,000,000 amount adds to the previously authorized $9,411,500 and a future request of $839,000, for a total project cost of $20,250,500. The library branch is in District 3, represented by council president Todd Gloria.
Library foundation CEO Jay Hill addressed the council and stressed the work done by his staff and the trustee members. “We have a winning team,” Hill said.
The new facility will be located at the southwest corner of Washington and Front streets, north of Florence Elementary School. It will replace the small Mission Hills Branch Library, built in 1961, at 925 W. Washington Street.
Numerous community meetings took place over many years with Friends of the Mission Hills Branch Library, Mission Hills Town Council, and Hillcrest Town Council to gain public input on the architectural plans. The 15,000-square-foot library is being designed by Architects Mosher Drew of San Diego. Preliminary design renderings are not yet available.
But Gloria said there will be Mission Hills and Hillcrest community meetings in June, where the design will be shown. “You're going to love the design,” he said.
Ten years ago the city bought the site, currently occupied by the vacant International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers building. A city web page states construction is projected for July, with a planned completion in April 2017.
According to the council resolution, the donor has an option for the branch's naming: Mission Hills/Hillcrest — Harley and Bessie Knox Branch Library. Harley Knox (1899–1956) served on the city council from 1939 to 1943 and was mayor from 1943 until 1951. His wife passed away in 1994.