Celebration planned to mark groundbreaking at French Valley Library

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Riverside County Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington. (Courtesy photo)

FRENCH VALLEY (CNS) – The long-awaited groundbreaking for a library in French Valley is scheduled next week, and the Riverside County supervisor who pushed for the project said today that he’s “excited” about it finally coming to fruition.

The planned 25,000-square-foot French Valley Library will occupy a 2.6-acre parcel at Skyview and Winchester roads, where a ceremony is set for 1 p.m. on Jan. 10 to mark the start of construction.

“The central location of this new library in the French Valley community will be valuable for everyone, no matter your age,” Supervisor Chuck Washington said. “Every time I take my grandkids to the library, I think I’m just as excited as they are.”

Washington began advocating in 2016 for the library, which is slated for completion in the first half of 2021. It will feature large collection spaces for books and multi-media materials, designated kids’ learning zones, group study rooms, computer tables with charging stations and places for pop-up exhibits on a rotating basis, according to the Economic Development Agency.

“The libraries of the 21st century have become essential resource centers with specialized programs for students, seniors, veterans, business owners, jobseekers and more,” Washington said. “When a library is built, the entire community benefits.”

In April, the Board of Supervisors approved three additional branches within the Riverside County Library System. Construction of the French Valley Library is expected to coincide with similar projects in Desert Hot Springs and Menifee.

The projects will be funded via a maximum $50 million bond float.

The county formed a public-private partnership with real estate developer Omni West Group Inc. to build the libraries. The latter created a limited liability company, CFP Riverside, under the agreement.

CFP Riverside will become proprietor of the 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 from the LLC 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 the EDA.

A 15,000-square-foot branch is envisioned on a 13-acre parcel at Palm Drive and Park Lane in Desert Hot Springs, replacing the 3,527-square-foot repository at 11691 West Drive, and in Menifee, the EDA wants to construct 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.