Battle over Renton library could be heading to the courts

    RENTON, Wash. -- Residents fighting to keep the city from moving a local library packed a Monday night city council meeting, but they left the meeting stunned and vowing to take their battle to the courts.

    At issue is the Cedar River Library, which is slated to be moved as part of an agreement between the city and King County Libraries.

    In February 2010, Renton voted to become part of King County Libraries system. As part of that agreement, the city was charged with building two new libraries. It was determined that the Highlands branch would be moved to Sunset Ave. and Harrington Ave. NE and the downtown Cedar River branch would be moved to a Big 5 store located near the Renton Transit Center.

    The planned move isn't sitting well with a host of Renton residents, and many of them turned up to Monday's meeting to make their voices heard.

    "Yes, we do have a say in how our government designs our public space," said Dena Rosko of Citizens for the Renton Cedar River Library.

    One by one, members of a capacity crowd approached the podium and asked the council to either accept their initiative to keep the library where it is or put the entire issue on the ballot.

    Those petitioners were shocked when they heard the council's decision.

    "They did neither," said Renton's Anthony Bacus. "They dismissed the initiative."

    The council voted 4-3 to dismiss the initiative altogether.

    "I guess we're going to lawyer up and have a fundraiser and sell bumper stickers for this lawyer," said Bacus. "We need to fight the city we pay for."

    The city hopes to have the downtown library branch open to the public by the end of the year or early next year. The Cedar River location will remain open until the new branch is built.

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