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The Marmalade and West Capitol Hill neighborhoods are going to get their first library. Until now residents have been served by the Rose Park Library or the main branch downtown.

Although it could be two to three years away, the Marmalade Library is anticipated to be a neighborhood gathering spot and could also be the anchor of a small commercial district on 300 West between 500 North and 600 North. Some 4 acres of land there are owned by the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency. The new Marmalade Library will be built in conjunction with an RDA project, according to Salt Lake City officials.

A previous RDA plan for the area, which included high-end condominiums and townhouses, fizzled when the housing market crashed in 2008.

The new plan looks to be a go, but the city council has yet to come up with a funding mechanism for the library construction.

"The intention is to serve the community with a library that residents can walk to," said Ella Olsen, library board member and chairwoman of the Marmalade Library Steering Committee.

"It's going to be a community meeting center where people can access technology," she said. "And it could be a catalyst for development in the neighborhood."

The structure will have about 20,000 square feet of floor space, although the building's design has not yet been finalized.

According to a preliminary budget, library construction will cost about $4.7 million. Another $2 million has been earmarked for books, CDs and other circulation materials.

The site for the building is valued at $700,000, Olsen said.

The Salt Lake City Council is expected to vote on the library project at its regular May 31 meeting.

The steering committee decided on the location after a lengthy process and community input, Olsen said.

"There were a lot of reasons why this location was good," she said, including walking access to the neighborhood and area schools. And community input clearly favored the location, she said.

Most of the RDA land surrounding the proposed library will be developed into small commercial entities aimed at serving the neighborhood, said D.J. Baxter, executive director of Salt Lake City's RDA.

"We're still at the conceptual stage," he said. "But everybody wants a gathering place and small commercial center."

The Marmalade Library could stand alone or be part of a building that houses several entities, Baxter said.

Although a firm time frame for construction of the library has yet to be established, Baxter said it could be open in two to three years.

There remain some budgetary machinations to work through, said City Councilman Stan Penfold.

Funding has been set aside for a new library in Glendale. But while there is funding for the Marmalade site and design work, there is presently no money for construction. The council has yet to determine if it will issue a bond, Penfold said.

The question isn't whether the library will be built, but when, according to Penfold. He said construction could begin in as soon as 18 months.

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