Library district buying land next to Battle Ground branch

Acquisition of 80,000 square feet of property secures opportunity for facility’s expansion

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter

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With an eye on possible expansion, regional library trustees voted Thursday to buy 80,586 square feet of property adjacent to the Battle Ground Community Library, 1207 S.E. Eighth Way.

The $180,000 acquisition will give the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District the entire triangular piece of property. The parcel being purchased was designed as the parking lot for the Battle Ground library, as well as for two potential retail pads on the site that have never been developed.

Currently, the library district owns the pad on which the Battle Ground branch was built, as well as a 5-foot-wide swath of land around the library, board chair Jane Higgins said.

The Battle Ground branch, which opened May 15, 2009, is one of Fort Vancouver’s busiest libraries, noted Executive Director Amelia Shelley.

“The building is 14,000 square feet, and it circulates 600,000 items a year,” Shelley said. “It does very good business for its size. As Battle Ground grows, we will have the opportunity to grow.”

That won’t be happening soon, Shelley added, since grass roots groups in Washougal, Ridgefield and Woodland are looking to expand and modernize their community libraries. But with ownership of that entire parcel in the Battle Ground Village area, the library district won’t lose the opportunity to someday expand.

The property was purchased with reserve funds that were set aside several years ago for a possible Battle Ground expansion, Shelley said.

There also have been upkeep and maintenance issues with the parking lot, including lights, cleaning and parking-space striping. Now the library’s district staff can take care of it.

The property is being purchased from Grandpoint Bank of Los Angeles.

The trustees also agreed to move forward on the sale of a piece of property, about an acre, off Southeast Hearthwood Boulevard in Cascade Park.

The site has been on the market for several years. It had been a previous location of the Cascade Park Community Library, which was relocated in 2009 to a new home at 600 N.E. 136th Ave., next to the Firstenburg Community Center. No other information on the transaction was available.