Blaine Library Project
FROM THE PARTNERS:
The City of Blaine, Kulshan Community Land Trust (KCLT) and Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) are conducting a feasibility study for a multi-story building that, if constructed, would include a new public library on the first floor and mixed-income housing above. The proposed project would be built on city-owned land in downtown Blaine that is currently home to the Blaine library, a parking lot and skate park. The project addresses critical community needs: an expanded public library and affordable housing, which would serve as catalysts for commerce and private investment in the downtown core.
Blaine City Council members approved the study and property transfer option agreement for the potential project at their May 22, 2023, meeting. Over the next six months, staff with the city, KCLT and the library system will consider development options and funding. If the project moves forward, design development and permitting could be complete by July 2024 on an accelerated schedule; construction could begin in late 2024 or early 2025.
“There are many moving parts, and it’s exciting to see the momentum for what we envision will be a beautiful, exemplary project,” says Paul Schissler, who is assisting Kulshan Community Land Trust. “With that said, there’s a lot of work to be done over the next few months with many variables that are outside our control. The groups working on this project are committed to transparency. When there is progress to report, we will share more information in the media, on our websites and in public meetings.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Friends of the Blaine Library, The City of Blaine and WCLS are working together to enhance current library services and to explore options for a new Blaine Library building. Donations will help fund this project.
Why expand the library?
- Our current 5,400-square-foot library at 610 3rd Street opened more than 30 years ago in the converted Blaine Public Works garage. The building infrastructure restricts growth and services, including technology expansion, community programs and meeting space, and quiet areas for reading and research.
- Without updates, the library cannot meet present and projected community needs.
- Community members chose “expanding the library” as a high priority in Blaine’s strategic economic initiative plan.
- Each year, approximately 116,000 people visit the Blaine Library; more than 700 people sign up for a library card, and a quarter million books circulate through the branch.
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