Phoenix voters on Nov. 7, will vote on a $500 million bond that will include $108,615,000 for parks, historic preservation efforts and libraries. If voters approve the measure, the money will flow to prioritized projects. One of those is the Yucca Library located near Bethany Home Road on 15th Avenue, which is number three on the upgrade priority list if the GO Bond passes.
Yucca Library is said to be the fourth busiest location in Phoenix. Karl J. Kendall, deputy director of the flagship Burton Barr Central Library, discussed the reasons why the library needs to be expanded.
“This project intends to double the size of the library to 20,000 to better serve its community,” said Kendall.
Kendall mentioned that aside from the fact that Yucca Library is one of their smaller locations, it’s also their busiest due to its location. The library facility is surrounded by a school, a shopping center as well and a park, which increases the traffic at Yucca Library.
“Yucca is one of our busier branches with the light rail located nearby on 19th Avenue and being adjacent to a major shopping center,” said Kendall.
This expansion will also include new amenities, such as expanded meeting and study rooms, additional public computers, and an automated material processing system, all of which will enhance the visitor experience.
According to City of Phoenix records, the GO Bond financing released for this specific project is set at $5,497, 836, and the plans are set for a 3-5-year period. If approved, between 2024 and 2025, $171,840 will be set aside for the study aspects. The project will cost $1,145,600 for design and engineering, and $11,456 for art purposes. In 2025-2026, they will move on to construction and demolition, as well as equipment and the amount needed for art purposes, totaling 4,109,445. The remaining amount will be for move-in expenses in 2026-2027.
The library will also have expected regular annual expenses, which include staff, contractuals, commodities, interdepartmental, and ongoing capital, totaling $1,288,063.
The building has been serving its community since 1969, according to Eric Rueda who is Yucca Library branch manager. He discussed the value that the library has for the community and the legacy it holds amongst families who have been there for many decades.
“Having a library that’s doubling in size that is already a landmark in the community that gonna be fantastic for all community members it’s gonna allow us to do more outreach and do more programs and it’s really exciting and I’m hopeful that it passes and will be able to get the funding to do that.”
Rueda said the Yucca library has received grant funding to help community members with rental laptops, Wi-Fi and hotspots.
“We are pretty familiar with these types of grants but this would be taking it to the next level because it would be updating the exterior and interior with items that the customers have been asking for [..] there are obviously a lot of individuals who continue using the library and see value in the public library,” said Rueda.