Library ready for long-awaited groundbreaking 

City officials will break ground Saturday on the long-awaited Redwood Shores Library, nine months behind schedule and $500,000 over budget.

Planning for the library began four years ago when city officials successfully applied for $10 million in funding from Prop. 14, the 2000 state library bond. Originally slated to open in the fall of 2007, the library now will open its doors to patrons in the summer of 2008, according to Redwood City Library Director Dave Genesy.

The first round of construction bids came in much higher than expected, forcing city officials to call for a second round of bidding and approvals from the state. Although the delays wound up increasing the price tag by $500,000, the budget was close enough to estimates for the City Council to back the project, according to Vice Mayor Roseanne Foust.

Residents in the growing Redwood Shores area are looking forward to the day when they get their own library, said Jeff Gee, director of the Redwood Shores Community Association.

"Some have said we don’t need a library, because we have the ones in Belmont and San Carlos, but this strengthens our connection to Redwood City. And it makes life easier when your kid says at 8 o’clock at night, ‘I’ve got a book report due tomorrow,’" Gee said.

The new 22,500-square-foot library on Marine Parkway near Bridge Parkway, designed in part by residents, will have an open, airy feel with views of the waterfront and plentiful community meeting rooms.

It will feature the same "bookstore" feel as the Main and Shaberg libraries, and will include a café with outdoor seating and 50 Internet-connected workstations, according to Genesy.

After bids came back so high, he urged the city to resist downsizing the project.

"We could have easily knee-jerked a reaction to make it smaller and save money, but this is the one we promised," Genesy said.

Although a part of Redwood City, Redwood Shores is not geographically connected to the city. As more and more residents have moved into the area over the last 20 years, the city has added a community center and a fire station.

The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District is also planning to build a second school in the area to relieve overcrowding at Sandpiper School.

"I’m thrilled that it’s opening," said Foust, who lives in Redwood Shores. She offered particular praise for the Friends of the Redwood Shores Library, a group that has raised $850,000 to buy books and media when the library opens next year.

The groundbreaking will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at 399 Marine Parkway.

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