Harper Ninaud, 3, holds up her matching letters as parents and their toddlers enjoying reading, songs and activities at the Lake Stevens Library on Dec. 19. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)                                Harper Ninaud, 3, holds up her matching letters as parents and their toddlers enjoying reading, songs and activities at the Lake Stevens Library on Dec. 19 in Lake Stevens. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Harper Ninaud, 3, holds up her matching letters as parents and their toddlers enjoying reading, songs and activities at the Lake Stevens Library on Dec. 19. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Harper Ninaud, 3, holds up her matching letters as parents and their toddlers enjoying reading, songs and activities at the Lake Stevens Library on Dec. 19 in Lake Stevens. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Voters again will consider a Lake Stevens library bond

Last time, there was 66 percent support, but turnout was not sufficient to approve the measure.

LAKE STEVENS — Voters are set to revisit a request to pay for a new Lake Stevens Library.

Last time, the support was there, but the ballots weren’t.

In February 2017, a $17 million bond measure to build a new library won 66 percent approval but failed to pass because voter turnout was too low.

In less than two months, people can vote again.

The Snohomish County Council recently approved placing the library bond measure on the Feb. 13 ballot. The Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees and Lake Stevens City Council also voted in favor of bringing the bond back to voters.

The measure asks for up to $17 million to build and furnish a library. At a planned 20,000 square feet, it would be eight times larger than the current space near North Cove.

The bond would be paid off over 20 years. The estimated rate for taxpayers would be about 21 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, or $84 on a $400,000 home.

The Lake Stevens Library, though operated by Sno-Isle, is in a city-owned building in an area that is being redeveloped. Demolition crews tore into the old City Hall there this fall, and local leaders have a vision to expand North Cove Park and relocate city services.

The goal is to build a new library near the corner of Market Place and 99th Avenue NE. It would be owned by Sno-Isle. The library district bought property there in 2016, adjacent to a city-owned parcel.

The existing library was built when the city was among the smallest in the county. Now Lake Stevens is one of the top five communities in terms of population.

“I’d really love to see the library have the ability to have programs for kids, teens and adults in the best possible way,” said Melissa Knaak, chairwoman of a committee in favor of the library bond. “Right now they’re very, very limited in what they can offer to the community because of the lack of space.”

The committee has planned a door-belling rally starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 6 at the Lake Stevens Community Center, she said.

Knaak has lived in Lake Stevens for about nine years and recalls taking her daughter to story time when they first moved to the city. The library became a place to meet other families.

“Yes, we have to vote again,” Knaak said. “And we’re still here supporting it because we really need this library.”

Voters in February approved a capital facility area for the library, which established a taxing district for the proposed bond that follows the boundaries of the Lake Stevens School District. Opponents of the bond measure have noted that those taxpayers might already feel overburdened with school bonds and levies and other taxes.

The library bond appeared on the same ballot as the capital facility area, and 66 percent of voters said “yes,” exceeding the required 60 percent. However, in order to pass, voter turnout needed to be at least 40 percent of the previous election, which had been unusually high because it was a presidential one. The turnout fell 749 ballots shy of what was needed.

If voters approve the bond this time around, Sno-Isle plans to have chances for people to weigh in on what the new library building would look like and what features might be included.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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