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It ain't dead yet, folks


City staff looking at new sites

The Canby Urban Renewal Agency board has directed city staff to explore costs and feasibility of two new location proposals for a new civic center-library.

The agency had to return to the drawing board in a Wednesday workshop after learning that property essential to building a $14.6 million civic center on Third Avenue was unavailable. The brainstorming session produced two more possible sites, one across Holly Street from the present library, and the other on the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Ivy Street.

Brian Hodson, mayor and vice chairman of the URA panel, proposed building a three-story civic center on the northeast corner of Holly and Third.

The property extends west on Third to the rear of the Andress Building.

Hodson proposed a building with a 12,000-square foot first floor, second and third floors of 13,000-square feet each and a 2,000-3,000-square foot storage basement.

The library would be located on the first floor, shared offices and meeting rooms on the second and city offices on the third.

Project costs are now estimated at $250 per square foot, Hodson said. If the city could trim that to $200 a square foot, it became an $8.2 million project.

Nobody would have to move to build a library at that site, he said. The library and city offices could stay where they are until it was done.

That alone saves almost $500,000, which could then go into land purchase or into part of project, Hodson said.

Nor would the old library building have to be destroyed. It could be retained for possible lease as executive suites or to accommodate future administration overflow.

The other proposal, from City Administrator Greg Ellis, was a late entry. He learned of it only Friday, Jan. 3, he said.

The second option suggested building a library-city hall on a 26,000-square foot property on the north side of Second Avenue, between Ivy and Juniper streets. The property now holds three small houses.

That site would get away from the present city hall area and avoid the disruption construction might cause there, Ellis said.

It also would free a lot of parking in city hall. The city parking lot at the movie theater would be just a block away.

Ellis said the Second Avenue site represented the path of least resistance in terms of development and could be done in phases.

The ultimate selection will be the fourth proposed site for a library project. The first was on First Avenue, succeeded by one on Second Avenue. The city approved in August 2012 a $12 million project to build a new library there and remodel the old one into city offices.

A new council majority terminated that project July 10, 2013. Next came the plans to build a two-story combined library and city hall on Third Avenue between Holly and Ivy streets.