Astoria selects architect for library work

The Astoria City Council has approved a contract for the first phase of a library renovation project.

The Astoria City Council unanimously approved a contract Monday night with an architectural firm to begin assessing the condition of the Astoria Library, kicking off the first phase of renovation work on the 50-year-old building.

A selection committee that included Library Director Jimmy Pearson and City Manager Brett Estes recommended going with the Portland-based firm Hennebery Eddy Architects Inc. The total cost of work will not exceed $77,210.

The firm will also help establish what the library needs in terms of space and develop three conceptual designs. This work is part of what city staff and fundraising partners refer to as the first phase of the project. The renovation work itself is the second phase, and comes with a $5 million price tag.

“I feel like we’ve got the future of the library in very good hands right now with our current library director and the people on this selection committee,” City Councilor Zetty Nemlowill said before making a motion to approve the contract.

The city already has $1.6 million set aside for future construction. A nonprofit tasked with fundraising for the renovation work has a goal of raising $3.5 million and has already raised about $125,000 since October.

“This is sufficient for us to begin the real work of major fundraising,” said David Oser, retired chief financial officer for nonprofit lender Craft3 and the foundation’s treasurer.

Oser said the money has enabled the foundation to acquire necessary equipment and software and hire Kate Deeks, an Astoria Library Advisory Board member and liaison to the foundation, for six months to manage fundraising efforts.

The city hopes to begin work on the library in 2019.

In other business Monday:

• The City Council passed a resolution to help facilitate environmental remediation for an oil spill in the Columbia River near the Cannery Pier Hotel in January. Up to 4,200 gallons of oil have leaked into the river since strong winds caused the pier to collapse and rupture an old tank.

The resolution does not come with any financial obligation.

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