12/20/2014

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Union Gap library might be closed for good

UNION GAP, Wash. -- Leona Bowlin and her friends used to meet at the Union Gap library, but it’s been closed since late last year.

"It was a nice place to go,” Leona said.

Anyone who used the Union Gap library now has to drive to Yakima to check out a book.

"I thought, uh-oh, Union Gap's going to the dogs,” Leona said.

Angel Maldonado is a Union Gap student. He tells KIMA he personally wrote a letter to the city manager asking to re-open the library.

"I have a couple books, but I already read them,” Angel said.

Union Gap closed the library as it dealt with mold concerns in City Hall. At the time, the city said it was to make way for the construction of new city buildings. However, no mold was ever found in the library. Now, it's used to hold Union Gap City Council meetings.

KIMA received your calls and email asking ‘Why is it OK for meetings, but not a library?’

What seems to frustrate people the most is that even though the library is in the same building as city hall, it's separate with its own entrance. Which, leads some people to believe the library is safe for use.

KIMA took your concerns to Union Gap city officials.

Union Gap Mayor, Roger Wentz, said it was not a mistake to move out of the library because the city has saved money.

Wentz says it cost the city more than $100,000 to run the library for only about 300 cardholders and, it might never reopen.

"We've all had to really look at the most effective way of providing as much possible service as we can," Roger said.

Neighbors upset that there might not be another chapter for the Union Gap library.

"Times are tough and it's hard for kids to grow up and find jobs and all of that,” Leona said. “They need the stimulation."

A public safety committee is reviewing the city hall and library plan. Officials now say its possible employees will return to the old city hall building.
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