News • May 02, 2019

Here’s where Riverside County plans to build three new library branches

Riverside County supervisors have OK’d spending up to $50 million to build three new library branches.

“Some people have told me that libraries are a thing of the past. We have the internet now,” said Supervisor Chuck Washington. “Well, we know the internet offers us information, and some not very positive things, too. But libraries always seem to be very positive places.”

On Tuesday, April 30, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-0, with Supervisor Jeff Hewitt absent, to accept the Economic Development Agency’s proposal for a public-private partnership and a maximum $50 million bond issuance to pay for development of the branches, which will be “substantially completed” by early 2021, according to the agency.

The IOUs will be in the form of lease-revenue bonds with varying rates of interest and durations.

“This is one of the biggest investments the county has made in the library system in a very long time,” said Economic Development Agency Director Rob Field. “While other library systems are looking to reduce hours or close branches, we are increasing spending and service hours.”

A 15,000-square-foot branch is planned for a 13-acre parcel at Palm Drive and Park Lane in Desert Hot Springs, replacing the current 3,527-square-foot branch at 11691 West Drive.

In Menifee, the county plans to build a 20,000-square-foot library on a five-acre parcel at La Piedra and Menifee roads to complement smaller branches at 26001 Briggs Road and 26982 Cherry Hills Road.

The largest of the three facilities will be in French Valley, where a 25,000-square-foot library is planned on an 11-acre parcel at Skyview and Winchester roads.

According to Washington, the area currently has no library services for locals. Washington represents the southwest region of Riverside County, including the cities of Murrieta, Temecula, Hemet and San Jacinto, as well as the unincorporated communities of Idyllwild, Anza, Winchester and Homeland.

The board-approved development plan established a partnership with Laguna Hills-based real estate developer Omni West Group, which has already formed a nonprofit limited liability company, CFP Riverside, to assume obligations tied to construction of the libraries. The bond sales, handled by the California Enterprise Development Authority, will directly support CFP Riverside, offsetting all of its development expenses, according to EDA documents.

CFP Riverside will become proprietor of the three buildings upon completion, and after they’re ready for occupancy, CFP will lease the properties back to the county, and the proceeds from the rentals, paid out of the county budget, will amortize the bonds.

The county will be eligible to take possession of the branches at the end of six years, provided there are no outstanding debts, or it can wait for the established 30-year lease terms to expire, after which all of the bonds should be retired, according to Field.

He said once the buildings are erected, the county will have 38 library branches.

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