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Coos Bay Council Decides Library Site by Split Decision

In a split decision, Coos Bay City Councilors have selected the new site for the future library in John Topits Park off Newmark in Empire. The foundation of the existing building is failing and estimates to repair and upgrade were more than $6 million dollars. No suitable site large enough and outside flood and Tsunami Inundation zones were in downtown. That’s when a site committee looked at Empire. The city’s Urban Renewal Agency purchased a property off Ocean Boulevard at Radar Hill next to the Graham Auto Dealership. The city then looked at possibly abating blight by purchasing the former Gussies Restaurant and Lounge that has been vacant for years. However, negotiators were unable to get the owner to consider selling. In recent weeks, the Topits Park site at Empire Lake near the National Guard Armory was identified as a potential site. Councilors were equally divided on where the best and most impactful site would be for the library and Empire. After a lengthy discussion and vote, Mayor Joe Benetti cast the deciding vote for the park site. The city will now seek grants, funding from the State, and a voter-approved bond later this year to fund construction.
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