By Bruce McPherson
Felton Library Friends is hosting the event on Saturday, November 7, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Felton Firehouse. Specials guests will include members of the Verutti family who will be honored for their generous land donation.
Music, refreshments, displays, funding updates, a presentation of current ideas for the land, and a tour of the property are all part of the celebration. After pending for more than a decade, a land deal for the planned new Felton Library was concluded in June between the County Board of Supervisors and the Verutti family.
The Verutti family – Patrick and Eileen and Mike – offered a two-acre parcel on Gushee Street in Felton for a deeply discounted price of $50,000. The Veruttis donated $130,000 of the appraised value and Felton Library Friends and the County will pay the $50,000 balance.
The Verutti family made the initial offer of the land in 2002. Originally, the Veruttis offered to donate a portion of the property. Later, the County negotiated for the entire site, which better suits the planned 9,300 square foot Verutti Building.
In addition to the new modern library building, the larger property offers opportunities for creek and land restoration, an outdoor exploration area for children, native plant demonstration gardens, and a riparian walkway. Felton Library Friends will be seeking public input on these and other possibilities.
The offer of land weathered three threatened library branch closures. During that time, the County supervisors and residents maintained their steadfast commitment to the project. A new Felton Library has been the top priority of Santa Cruz City-County Library Board.
In 2009, the Whalen Trust donated $150,000 to the Felton branch, some of which has been spent on pre-development costs. The building has been designed through information from a community assessment study in 1999 and community meetings in 2005 and 2007. Through the years, some changes have been made, the most notable that it will be a net zero energy building and that the site now includes the additional parcel.
The library Joint Powers Board is currently considering a ballot measure for next June that would raise funds for much needed capital projects at all 10 branches in the City-County library system.
Please come see tentative plans for the library parcel and add your views to the ongoing discussion.