Mount Vernon library and community center moves forward

July 28, 2018

MOUNT VERNON — The proposed library and community center in Mount Vernon has received the go-ahead Wednesday from City Council members and the Skagit County commissioners.

The project can now proceed to the next planning stages, with construction slated to begin next year.

As of now, goals for the project include a rooftop gathering space, a large lobby and 275-350 parking spaces, Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau said at the meeting Wednesday.

The multistory building coming to 208 Kincaid St. is projected to span 28,500 square feet and stand 60 feet tall — 3 feet shorter than the Skagit County Courthouse.

The project is expected to cost around $27.3 million with the rooftop space, and about $26.2 million without.

“It’s a brand new amenity for not just Mount Vernon, but the entire community,” Boudreau said.

For the past four months, leaders from the city’s library and other departments have worked to gain public input and determine the feasibility of the project.

Mount Vernon City Library Director Isaac Huffman conducted eight focus groups with county stakeholders. Those meetings revealed a desire for children’s spaces, educational and fitness programs, conference rooms, study rooms, technology and a kitchen.

Stakeholders also stressed the importance of electronic locks, ample lighting and a flexible building design that can change as the community’s needs evolve.

Lighting — coupled with an attentive staff and controlled access to spaces — was emphasized as a way to bolster security.

When it comes to location, the building’s proposed site has passed the initial review. Alan Danforth, development review engineering manager of the city’s engineering division, said the area is contaminant free and contains no known archaeological red flags.

“The site is very suitable for our needs,” he said.

A significant portion of the project will be funded by a state infrastructure award of about $14 million, Boudreau. The city also plans to apply for economic development grants, partner with community foundations and raise funds locally.

Planners will proceed to the development and advertising phase through October, at which point the project will enter into the design and engineering phase.

More information and concept renderings of the project can be found at mountvernonwa.gov.

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