Scotts Valley-area residents are invited to attend a meeting to discuss how the 9,000-square-foot space next door to the new library will be used.
The meeting, which city officials are calling a “charette,” will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, in the Scotts Valley Branch Library multipurpose room, 251 Kings Village Road. Participants will hear from an architect and can give ideas for the space, according to Community Development Manager Corrie Kates.
“Phase one was the library, and phase two is the 9,000 square feet of empty space next door,” Kates said. “The city is looking at ‘What do we do there? What kind of civic use can we put there?’”
However, no money is available from the city for the project at this time.
The library opened in June 2011 in the building that formerly housed the Scotts Valley Sports Center, purchased by the city for $4.5 million in 2009. The library filled only a portion of the 23,000-square-foot sports complex, however, leaving about 9,000 square feet of unused space. The library project cost $7 million in Redevelopment Agency monies and borrowed bond cash.
City staff members reached out to the Scotts Valley Arts Commission on Sept. 24 and then approached Scotts Valley Parks and Recreation Division and the Parks and Recreation Advocates on Oct. 4 to hear suggestions for possible uses. David Schnee from Group 4 Architects, the architectural firm that designed the library, recorded the groups’ thoughts and inspected the space to determine what might work.
The ceilings, Schnee said, are too low for volleyball or basketball, and the space could not be used for an indoor pool. He suggested that a modest-sized theater could be possible, or rooms for meetings.
Trish Melehan, a member of the Scotts Valley Arts Commission, said that group would like to see a theater, because the one at Bethany University closed along with the school.
“We just feel if there was a theater or performing arts center, it would serve the community well,” Melehan said.
Scotts Valley Performing Arts Association President Carolyn Dugger said a group of interested people might form a nonprofit to raise the money needed to build a theater, if the city decides that is a proper use for the space.
“A theater is an asset to the community,” Dugger said. “There is a definite lack of cultural space since Bethany’s closed.”
Parks department officials have also spoken about developing the space as a multipurpose room.
During Thursday’s meeting, Schnee will review a diagram of the space and renderings of possible uses leading to cost estimates for various projects.
“It will be an interactive workshop with different options,” Schnee said. “We’re looking for community input on what types of things they’d like to see.”
Expense could limit the final choices. Kates said the council has made it clear that there is no money in the city budget to construct anything in the space. He said private funding and grant money would likely be needed to retrofit the space for whatever use is decided upon.
Kates said the City Council was expected to discuss the space during its Dec. 5 meeting.
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