It's checkout time at the library. Residents have been very vocal so far in their support of building a new library on a piece of the former Niven Nursery expected to be donated to the City of Larkspur.
The Larkspur City Council is holding the last of three scheduled meetings Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the Rose Garden Community Facility parcel. The meeting has been moved from City Hall to the Hall Middle School gym, so just about everyone with a thought for the plot should be able to find a seat. They'll also have a good view of the proposed construction site across Doherty Drive as they enter the gym.
Phil Terry, who has been involved in plans for a new library for decades, lives within walking distance of the parcel from his home on Diane Lane.
"We have an outstanding opportunity," he said at the May 7 meeting. "This is not a new thing. For me, it's been 40 years, even in negotiations to get land. In almost all the meetings, it was said 'Get land,' because then we have a place to build a library."
The New Home Company bought the former Niven Nursery on Doherty Drive to develop for housing and agreed, according to city officials, to donate a parcel of land to the City in a development-ready state. While 1.59 acres of the parcel is available for construction, the rest of the 2.43-acre piece of land must be designated as park space.
The City Council hopes that when the parcel is officially handed over, plans for the parcel will already be set.
Not only will the city have the land, but a solid foundation on which to build a library, thanks to a promised donation from an anonymous patron. The donation is reportedly earmarked for the construction of a new library.
"The money is like a gift. It comes out of left field," Terry said.
The bulk of the support so far has been for a library building with meeting room facilities. There's also been vocal support for a recreational facility, perhaps even a swimming pool. The idea of a performing arts center or media arts facility has also gained support.
Dave Kaye responded recently, "There's no reason why the building couldn't be used as both a library and a community center, meeting room, and media center."
Other ideas that have been mentioned include a community farm or garden or a public plaza.
"I was thinking about my trip to Puerto Vallarta and how every night there was a lighted promenade. I was thinking our culture is missing out on a lot," Terry said. "A … path could become a promenade. There are already other communities that have that kind of setup and people go out at night with their umbrellas and whatever else they've got and enjoy themselves."
The current Larkspur Library is housed in the nearly 100-year old City Hall, which needs retrofitting to bring it into compliance with state and federal safety codes and to make it handicap accessible.
Still, Vicky Young said she would miss the "cozy" feeling of the current library.
"In 2005, someone mentioned how much everyone loves that library room down there and we discussed picking up that room and moving intact and calling it the Senior Quiet Area, where you can sit in your nice plush chairs," Terry said.