A new location was proposed Friday for a permanent Sahuarita public library just west of Sahuarita Intermediate School on the main campus of the Sahuarita Unified School District.

The library would be built on SUSD land and operated by the Pima County Library system and would be built with county bond funds if approved by county voters.  

The new site proposal was revealed at Friday’s Pima County Bond Advisory Committee meeting at the Double Tree Hotel in Tucson, where several Green Valley and Sahuarita officials spoke about proposed county bond-funded projects. The bond program could go before voters in November 2014 at the earliest.

Green Valley residents Chuck Catino and Harry Paxton, speaking about the Canoa Preserve Park and the Community Performance and Art Center, thanked the committee for past bond funding and said they understood why the facilities are not on the tentatively approved list for more funding in the next bond program.

The BAC heard from dozens of other advocates for various projects, but they were cautioned that the committee is not ready to rule any projects in or out this early in the process.

The committee adopted six criteria for judging projects and will spend the summer working to reduce a list of $1.3 billion in proposed projects to about $650 million.

The committee hopes to winnow the project list by spring 2014 for approval by the Board of Supervisors. The board-approved list could go before voters as early as November 2014, BAC Chairman Larry Hecker said.

The new library site is an old baseball field that has not been use for at least eight years, and is too small to qualify for state funding for a school, district Superintendent Manny Valenzuela and Governing Board member Tom Murphy said outside the bond committee meeting.

Murphy and Rancho Sahuarita Vice President Ted Herman advocated on behalf of the library at the meeting. Up until now, Rancho Sahuarita had proposed a site south of the current temporary library branch.

Library Services Manager Amber Mathewson said the site will be studied more, but appears to be large enough and has several advantages over the previous site. The new site is on Sahuarita Road rather than a block away, the property already is served by utilities and the location on a school campus puts it within walking distance of several schools.

Valenzuela said the fact that the proposed library branch is free-standing means there would not be a problem with adult access that has arisen in some public libraries in school buildings.

Meanwhile, county staff have recommended that CPAC receive a $75,000 operating subsidy from the county for the fiscal year that starts July 1 in a budget that the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to approve Tuesday. Also on the agenda are recommendations for $17,500 for Valley Assistance Services for temporary monetary assistance and $49,500 for the Arivaca Coordinating Council-Human Resources Group for emergency food and clothing.

The Supervisors meeting is at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the County Supervisors Meeting Room on the first floor of the County Administration Building, 130 W. Congress Street, Tucson.

            Philip Franchine | 547-9738