Atascadero library relocation may move ahead

Escrow could open on a larger space for the Atascadero-Martin Polin Regional Library as soon as December — a long-awaited move that would more than double its size.

Friends of the Atascadero Library say the project would boost space for public meetings, youth programs and a computer lab, and would have more parking.

The group has been raising funds for larger digs since 1988.

Members plan to move the library from its current 7,000-square-foot space on Morro Road to an empty 20,000-square-foot office building at 6555 Capistrano Ave. in Atascadero.

The mixed-use project includes county offices, as well as the library. The date when the new library could open has not been released.With tenant improvements and other costs, the total move is estimated at $8.4 million. The library portion alone is estimated at $5.7 million, which the county and Friends of the Atascadero Library have agreed to split.

Proceeds from a post-move sale of the Morro Road library property would also go to the project, which will lessen both parties’ overall contributions.

The Board of Supervisors — which committed $3 million in 2009 — will consider going forward with its share this afternoon. The money would go toward the roughly $3.4 million needed to purchase the Capistrano space.

Tonight, the Atascadero City Council will consider releasing about $254,000 in funding that it previously earmarked for its purchase contribution.

The city initially allocated $35,000 in 1995, but the sum has grown to $56,500 including interest, according to the city. The remainder is about $198,000 generated from new development fees.

Friends of the Atascadero Library will continue to fundraise for its share of the expansion costs — about $2.1 million. Earlier this year, it had secured $1,070,000. The group couldn’t be reached Monday for an updated figure.