The city of Lancaster will issue more than $5.5 million in bonds to construct a local library for Los Angeles County, which can't afford to build one for the area itself.
The money will cover part of the cost of a $12.24-million, 52,300-square-foot facility that will be the largest in the 85-library county system, with the rest of the money coming from Lancaster redevelopment agency funding.
The City Council made the decision to issue the bonds by a unanimous vote at its meeting Monday night.
Plans to replace the city's overcrowded library have been in the works for almost a decade. After trying and failing twice to get money from the state, the county ended up accepting an offer from the city to help build its own county library.
"We are in no position to build a library, " said Evelyn Mac Morres, a county library regional administrator. "We have no money."
Proceeds from $4.3 million in tax allocation bonds will be one of the major sources of funding. The bonds, to be repaid over 25 years, will carry an interest rate of 5.7% to 6.5%, said Steve Dukett, the city's redevelopment director.
An additional $1.2 million will come from 30-year bonds. The city redevelopment agency will contribute an additional $1.5 million, along with a loan of $5.8 million.
A 4.33-acre site on Lancaster Boulevard between Cedar and Date avenues, where a J.C. Penney store was formerly located, was purchased for $3.8 million by the redevelopment agency, according to Dukett. The new library will have 250 parking spaces, compared to the current 125.
According to library manager Chuck Billodeaux, Lancaster's present library, built in 1964, is one of the busiest in the county-run library system.
Library and city officials met Tuesday morning to discuss details of the library design. Representatives of "Friends of the Lancaster Public Library" expressed concerns about security after finding out that plans call for the building entrance to be on a side street and parking at the rear of the building.
Billodeaux said he and other library officials had only been consulted within the last few weeks on design specifications and that the building's architect will meet with them to discuss improvements.
Dukett said construction on the new library is scheduled to begin this fall and will be completed in late 1994.
The present county library on the corner of Kingtree Street and Avenue J will remain open until the new building is completed.