Neall gives tentative approval for Long Point Mall library

June 26, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

Two years ago, some 4,000 people signed a petition calling for a library in the Long Point section of Pasadena.

Yesterday, that plan came a step closer to reality.

County Executive Robert R. Neall gave Library Director Ed Hall informal approval to move ahead with plans for a library at the Long Point Mall, a strip shopping center at the intersection of Mountain and Long Point roads.

"It looks fine, as long as we can get the lease at favorable terms," Neall told Hall.

Neall made the assessment during a visit to the site as part of an afternoon tour of Pasadena. The day included a lunch with Pasadena business owners at the Wooden Nickel and tours of Downs Park and the Brandon Shores electrical generation station.

Neall said he likes such tours because they're a good management tool and an efficient way to become familiar with issues and problems facing a community.

"I believe a lot in management by walking around. If I'm dependent on information that's brought to my desk, that's all I get, information that's brought to my desk," Neall said. "When you get out and see things first-hand, it makes it a lot easier to understand, especially something like traffic, or a library or building site."

Library officials hope to lease 8,800 square feet of storefront space in the south end of the shopping center, which would be a sufficient size for a library with between 45,000 and 55,000 volumes, said David Marshall, chief of public services for the library system.

The county's capital budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 includes $1 million for locating a library in Long Point.

Hall said one advantage to the proposal is that it means no new construction, which would speed up the opening.

He showed Neall a proposed opening schedule that specified approval of a lease with the property's owner, Cusimano and Sons, by the library board of trustees by Oct. 15, and county council approval by Nov. 15. Renovations at the site could start by February and the library could open by June 15, 1993, according to Hall.

Most of the libraries in the 14-branch county system have 12,000 to 13,000 square feet of space and house about 60,000 volumes, he said.

But even a small library would be welcome in the community, said Frank Haligas, vice president of the Greater Pasadena Council and a resident of North Shores.

"This area's grown so much, it makes good sense," said Haligas, who accompanied Neall on the tour.

David Vandegrift, owner of Pop's Grocery and Deli, in the part of the Lake Point center planned for the library, fears he may have to relocate next to a competing deli operation. He said he is trying to negotiate with the property owner to ensure that doesn't happen.

"I welcome the library and I'm willing to move, but not if it's going to hurt my business," he said.

Hall said growth in the community has inspired a call for a new library in the area.

The nearest library is currently 6.8 miles away in Riviera Beach, which is a 15- to 20-minute drive with traffic, Hall said.

"You go down any one of these smaller roads, and you can see all this development," said Hall. "People need libraries."

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