Many Renton residents are not aware that the taxpayer-funded Gateway Park west of the Piazza, including mature trees and landscape, will be torn out if the Big 5 (Piazza Site) is chosen for the new library. This is because the Gateway Park square footage must be combined with the former Big 5 parking lot and the former Big 5 building in order to accommodate the new building and it’s entryway. The landscape and trees are finally reaching maturity in this park. Taxpayers paid approximately $250,000 to have this designed and landscaped around 1999, and to have an elaborate irrigation system installed (which has been helping the plantings grow and thrive for twelve years). Like the parking in the area, the cost of this park has never been included in estimates for the cost of the Piazza Library. If land purchases, off-site parking, and the cost of this park were included in the Piazza library cost, then the total price of this option would be between 11 and 12 million dollars, compared the the 10.1 million estimated for remodeling of the Cedar River Library.
If the Piazza Library site is chose, there will be an outcry when these trees get cut down. (Many Renton citizens have been complaining already about tree-losses downtown, primarily due to widening of nearby Rainier Avenue.)