Board OKs next step for Atascadero library

A proposed new library for Atascadero took a step forward Tuesday morning when the Board of Supervisors agreed with the Atascadero Friends of the Library on how to proceed.

“Everything about our (current) library has grown, except the size,” Friends of the Library President Grenda Ernst said, noting that 24,000 people currently have library cards. The meeting room is overscheduled, she said, and the library is generally overcrowded.

Should the project move to completion, the library would leave its current 7,000-square-foot space on Morro Road and occupy two-thirds of an empty 20,000-square-foot office building at 6555 Capistrano Ave.

County offices would occupy the remaining third of the space.

The new location is larger than the library’s current home and closer to the city’s downtown core. It would also provide more parking.

The Morro Road site would go on the market, and proceeds from the sale would apply to the move.

The transfer is not a done deal. Atascadero Friends of the Library still needs to raise an estimated $2.1 million, according to a staff report.

Nonetheless, supervisors were enthusiastic. A building shell already exists on the Capistrano site.

The Atascadero City Council was scheduled Tuesday night to consider releasing about $254,000 in funding that it previously set aside for the purchase.

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.