“You’re letting this just die and then saying the numbers are low,” said Mary Lee Gair, who described herself as a “constant user” of the library. “That makes perfect sense, because you’re not providing services.”
The city also needs to replace the adjacent fire station, officials told residents, and that would be easier if they had some of the library’s space. The fire station dates from 1948, and officials said it’s configured poorly — paramedics are separated from the rest of the crew, and fumes come into the building when fire trucks back in.
“Within the next five years we need to do something with this fire station,” City Manager Homer Bludau said.
Most of the 50 or so residents who came to a Monday morning meeting wanted to keep the library, and some complained about the lack of children’s materials at the branch. Another meeting was scheduled for Monday evening, and Bludau said the issue will probably be discussed at a council study session in September.
Officials including Bludau, Fire Chief Steve Lewis and Newport Beach library services director Linda Katsouleas told residents they’re considering five options. Two choices would raze the library, with one adding about 1,500 square feet of books and other items at Oasis, and the other not replacing it. One option rebuilds the fire station but leaves the library as it is, and two would rebuild part or all of the library.
City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner, who lives in the area and uses the library herself, said she wanted to assure residents all options will be looked at, but she reminded them the decision won’t solely be up to her.
“There’s also a whole council to consider, and money,” she said. “There is obviously a long road ahead.”