MOUNT VERNON — Skagit County and the city of Mount Vernon agreed March 28 to collaborate on a new combined library and senior center.
The county and city would share space, staffing and costs.
The project will meet the city’s longstanding need for a new library and the county’s desire to replace the Mount Vernon Senior Center, Skagit County Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt said.
Many of the details still need to be worked out, but Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau said she’s enthusiastic about the collaboration.
“It makes a lot of sense to do it together,” she said. “(The) programs and services are mutually supportive.”
A library and a senior center both require open space to host programs, so Dahlstedt said it made sense to find a way to collaborate.
Boudreau said the proposed location for the multistory building is 208 Kincaid St., which is now a parking lot owned in part by the county and in part by the city.
The center would include a parking structure, Boudreau said.
Including parking enables the city to use $14 million from a state infrastructure grant, called the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool program, to pay for construction.
“We really believe that will cover the whole enchilada,” Boudreau said.
Exact costs will be determined as the project progresses, but she said the city won’t need to go out for a bond or raise taxes.
The city’s goals for a new library include a larger space for its collection, more public computers and more space for programs, according to a 2014 needs assessment.
Dahlstedt said the new center would allow for the continuation of meals and activities for area seniors.
“As the number of seniors is ballooning, we just plain don’t have the space for them,” he said of the current senior center, which would require an extensive remodel to meet needs.
Sharing a meeting space with the library would help the county provide for seniors and library users more efficiently, he said.
Boudreau said she hopes a feasibility study will be completed by the time the Mount Vernon City Council meets with county commissioners in late June.
She said the study will include consulting with architects and engineers to get a better idea about costs, space and parking.