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New La Mesa library? Eh.

New city hall and 180-car parking garage, definitely

La Mesa City Council members (photo of crowded library in background)
La Mesa City Council members (photo of crowded library in background)
Place

La Mesa Library

8074 Allison Avenue, La Mesa

Although the La Mesa branch library wasn't included in the study unanimously authorized by the La Mesa City Council on August 11, La Mesa Friends of the Library president John Schmitz implored the council to give the branch library some consideration in a project involving the civic center/old police station site.

The council voted to allocate $116,900 for Keyser Marston Associates to prepare a feasibility study and master plan. Gruen Associates, an urban planning and architectural firm, is a subcontractor for the proposal that includes an approximately 20,000-square-foot city hall, another building that size for use by another governmental agency, a 180-car parking garage, and a civic plaza or square. An October workshop will consider four concepts. Assistant city manager Yvonne Garrett said the results will be brought to the council in early 2016.

Schmitz said, "I am here to implore you as part of your study to please include some support to provide a permanent library, a larger library than what we have today." He reminded the council of a 2005 agreement between the city and the county: La Mesa would build a library or pay the county for land where the branch once stood.

La Mesa's old library in the civic-center complex

La Mesa’s civic center site consists of 3.5 acres (see comment below for the boundaries and additional information about the old police station site.) On the civic center land are city hall (which opened in 1957), the fire station, library, U.S. post office, Helix Water District, and the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. The district and chamber are no longer on the site.

The old police station was located on a 1.2-acre site on the southeast corner of Allison and Date avenues. The new station is across the street at 8085 University Avenue. That was the location of the 9000-square-foot library branch built in 1953, librarian Denise Stutzman said in an August 12 interview. The building also housed Lamplighters Theatre (now located at 5915 Severin Drive).

Change came to the center in 2004, when La Mesa voters approved a $25 million bond measure to improve the police and fire stations, according to the report.

La Mesa branch library since 2008

New stations were built, and the city constructed a 17,000-square-foot building that houses the post office and the 10,000-square-foot branch library. Stutzman said the library moved there in 2008. The former post-office site is a temporary parking lot on Date Avenue. It's the site of Friday farmers’ markets.

Stutzman said La Mesa is third in terms of circulation in the county system (in first place is Vista, followed by San Marcos). During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, Stutzman said 776,782 items were checked out of the library.

At the August 11 meeting, Schmitz said circulation would "probably be higher if we had the capacity." Later, he said, "It was my understanding" that the location was "interim" and referred to the 2005 agreement.

Garrett said "unfortunately" the city didn't receive any of the state library bond funds available between 2000 and 2005. She said the city was aware "we have to pay value for the old library site within a 2016-2018" time frame.

When vice mayor Bill Baber asked about La Mesa's legal obligation, city attorney Glenn Sabine said he will report on it at the September 8 council meeting.

Library bookstore
Spencer Wilcox, Helix, and Deborah Ives

Schmitz recommended that the master-plan study include contacting the county or District 2 supervisor Dianne Jacob about the branch. Mayor Mark Arapostathis noted that the proposal includes a building designated for a public agency.

Furthermore, Schmitz said the Friends of the Library bookstore is also a meeting room where space is limited to about 20 people. (Stutzman said the room measures about 349 square feet.)

On August 12, I met bookstore manager Deborah Ives, and Helix (her five-year-old bichon-poodle mix is named for the double curl in his tail). Ives touted half-price sales and said later, "The shelves are on wheels." When groups like the chess club or knitting club meet, shelves are wheeled to the back of the room.

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La Mesa City Council members (photo of crowded library in background)
La Mesa City Council members (photo of crowded library in background)
Place

La Mesa Library

8074 Allison Avenue, La Mesa

Although the La Mesa branch library wasn't included in the study unanimously authorized by the La Mesa City Council on August 11, La Mesa Friends of the Library president John Schmitz implored the council to give the branch library some consideration in a project involving the civic center/old police station site.

The council voted to allocate $116,900 for Keyser Marston Associates to prepare a feasibility study and master plan. Gruen Associates, an urban planning and architectural firm, is a subcontractor for the proposal that includes an approximately 20,000-square-foot city hall, another building that size for use by another governmental agency, a 180-car parking garage, and a civic plaza or square. An October workshop will consider four concepts. Assistant city manager Yvonne Garrett said the results will be brought to the council in early 2016.

Schmitz said, "I am here to implore you as part of your study to please include some support to provide a permanent library, a larger library than what we have today." He reminded the council of a 2005 agreement between the city and the county: La Mesa would build a library or pay the county for land where the branch once stood.

La Mesa's old library in the civic-center complex

La Mesa’s civic center site consists of 3.5 acres (see comment below for the boundaries and additional information about the old police station site.) On the civic center land are city hall (which opened in 1957), the fire station, library, U.S. post office, Helix Water District, and the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. The district and chamber are no longer on the site.

The old police station was located on a 1.2-acre site on the southeast corner of Allison and Date avenues. The new station is across the street at 8085 University Avenue. That was the location of the 9000-square-foot library branch built in 1953, librarian Denise Stutzman said in an August 12 interview. The building also housed Lamplighters Theatre (now located at 5915 Severin Drive).

Change came to the center in 2004, when La Mesa voters approved a $25 million bond measure to improve the police and fire stations, according to the report.

La Mesa branch library since 2008

New stations were built, and the city constructed a 17,000-square-foot building that houses the post office and the 10,000-square-foot branch library. Stutzman said the library moved there in 2008. The former post-office site is a temporary parking lot on Date Avenue. It's the site of Friday farmers’ markets.

Stutzman said La Mesa is third in terms of circulation in the county system (in first place is Vista, followed by San Marcos). During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, Stutzman said 776,782 items were checked out of the library.

At the August 11 meeting, Schmitz said circulation would "probably be higher if we had the capacity." Later, he said, "It was my understanding" that the location was "interim" and referred to the 2005 agreement.

Garrett said "unfortunately" the city didn't receive any of the state library bond funds available between 2000 and 2005. She said the city was aware "we have to pay value for the old library site within a 2016-2018" time frame.

When vice mayor Bill Baber asked about La Mesa's legal obligation, city attorney Glenn Sabine said he will report on it at the September 8 council meeting.

Library bookstore
Spencer Wilcox, Helix, and Deborah Ives

Schmitz recommended that the master-plan study include contacting the county or District 2 supervisor Dianne Jacob about the branch. Mayor Mark Arapostathis noted that the proposal includes a building designated for a public agency.

Furthermore, Schmitz said the Friends of the Library bookstore is also a meeting room where space is limited to about 20 people. (Stutzman said the room measures about 349 square feet.)

On August 12, I met bookstore manager Deborah Ives, and Helix (her five-year-old bichon-poodle mix is named for the double curl in his tail). Ives touted half-price sales and said later, "The shelves are on wheels." When groups like the chess club or knitting club meet, shelves are wheeled to the back of the room.

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Comments
7

La Mesa doesn't need a new library. The one that is there is fine. It's clean, airy, has parking. Most people that use libraries these days are on the computers surfing the internet. They are not going to "increase circulation" of books just because the building is larger or newer.

Aug. 14, 2015

The library IS new! built in 2010. It serves the (homeless) population just fine. New city hall yes and whatever other buildings are necessary but the library fans got a new library long before the City Hall was even considered.

Aug. 15, 2015

I guess I'm missing something. Why is this story about a new library when the one in La Mesa is new? I use that library and it's never crowded, so why is that photo being shown to the city clowncil? That looks like some children's event. I don't see as many homeless at La Mesa as I have observed downtown. But the way people dress now-a-days, and those who travel on the trolley (mobility for the gangs & homeless express) I can't tell the difference between regular folks and homeless... they kind of all look the same to me until I get close enough to smell them.

Aug. 15, 2015

Discussion of the feasibility study and master plan for La Mesa’s civic center/old police station includes references to what was on the land, what’s there now, and what could be there in the future. The civic center property is described in the August 11 city report as a 3.5-acre block bounded by University Avenue, Allison Avenue, and Spring Street. Date Street separated the “old” post office from the property where the 1957 city hall still stands. Expansions include two trailers, one more than 30 years old. The old police station on Allison Avenue was demolished in 2012, and the city planned to sell the land to a redevelopment agency with "potential development … as an affordable housing site," according to the report. Assistant city manager Yvonne Garrett said at the meeting that when the state abolished redevelopment agencies, land was transferred to the city, which acts as a housing agency. Mayor Mark Arapostathis said the land is used as a staging area, and residents asked councilmembers about future plans. "Tell them we're opening a Baskin-Robbins," he joked. Garrett said the study will look at mixed-use development on the site, and ensure sure the city follows the "letter of the law" in terms housing requirements.

Aug. 14, 2015

What is a "staging area"

Aug. 15, 2015

It is currently used as a material/equipment storage (staging) area for the downtown redevelopment (construction).

Aug. 16, 2015

The older "old" La Mesa Library: Librarian Denise Stutzman sent this link to a picture of the 1910 library. On the dropbox is the message, “San Diego County Free Library." http://catalog.library.ca.gov/F/JVD1FSU2UYT88BCKMMRFDDAHL6F4TDEEBDE4GC149Y9PHNAKUC-45563?func=find-b&request=La+Mesa+Library&find_code=WRD&adjacent=N&x=0&y=0

Aug. 14, 2015

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