Plans to reopen Union Gap's library are off the table for now

Plans to reopen Union Gap's library are off the table for now »Play Video
UNION GAP, Wash. -- Union Gap officials have a big decision on their hands. Do they re-open the public library? They're getting a lot of pressure from the community, but can the tight budget handle it?

Family trips to the library are something Jesse Walruff used to enjoy with his sons. However, that's something his youngest son won't likely experience any more.

"The library was a perfect thing for I know my son Tyson, he loves reading, and we love taking him there," said Walruff. "His grandparents love taking him there."

Although the "Welcome" sign remains, the empty shelves tell a different story since the library's doors were closed to public use last year.

It was originally shut down because of mold, although later test showed the building was clean and it has since been used for city council meetings.

Union Gap officials said keeping the library closed saves them $100,000 a year. Some believe this is a smart move, as the library only had 300 cardholders.

Despite the high cost, a number of community members have pressured city council to reopen the library.

"It was a good thing you know, the kids need to be off the streets doing stuff like that, and that was a big part of the city having a library," said Walruff.

At Monday's meeting, city council said bringing back the library is something they'd like to do in the long term, although they're not yet sure where or how that will happen. For now, due to budget constraints the city manager approved a renewal contract with the Yakima Valley Libraries.

This cost the city just under $20,000 a year. A savings for Union Gap, but at a higher price for book lovers. It costs Union Gap families $50 a year to sign up for the services, the standard cost for non residents.

For now it's the best option for families like Jesse's.

"We do go to Yakima library and get him a book over there too, he loves reading," said Walruff.

Yakima Valley Libraries has 17 locations around the county.