Armed with grant money and a deadline to complete work, backers of significant renovations to the city library should soon have another critical component — consultants.
Driving the news: On Tuesday evening, the Palm Springs City Council authorized city staff to seek a qualified firm to best estimate the final costs of dozens of proposed changes to the nearly 50-year-old building and the adjacent JC Frey building.
Looking back: The 34,000-square-foot library off Sunrise Way first opened in 1975 and has remained mostly unchanged. Efforts to upgrade or replace it stretch back years but were delayed during the pandemic.
- Last September, the city secured a $6.5 million state grant, which will be matched with city funds and must be spent by March 2026.
- The money can help pay for upgrades to the two buildings’ infrastructure, but not everything needed to bring the library up to today’s standards. That could cost millions more.
Bigger picture: The board of trustees that oversees library operations has a list of dozens of vital improvements needed to modernize the facility.
- Before that board, the city, and the foundation that supports the library can raise the final funds, however, everyone needs to know the final costs.
- “The community stands ready to get behind this project and finally make this dream a reality,” Trustee Ed McBride told the Council Tuesday evening.
Next steps: Once a firm is selected, it will determine the cost for everything from new furniture to a proposed event center. It’s then up to the City Council to decide which items from the list to include in an initial development phase and which must wait for phase two.
Why it matters: Although we live in a primarily digital age, libraries play a vital role in communities. They offer free books and other materials and access to computers and space for the community to meet.
- Before the pandemic, more than a quarter million people each year walked through the main library’s doors, said Jeannie Kays, the city’s director of library services.
What they’re saying: “Imagine what we could do if we had a world-class library,” Kays told councilmembers before the authorization. “This project is truly for the community.”