Is a Downtown Library in Oakley’s Future?


I recently met with the Friends Of the Oakley Library’s New Library Committee to discuss potential locations for a new stand-alone library. For the last 13 years, the Library has shared space with Freedom High School, but has outgrown its space (approx. 3,000 square feet) and is literally bursting at the seams.

The Committee has evaluated the following sites:

  • Sherriff’s Delta Sub Stationb
  • Moura Property (parcel located south of O’Hara Park Middle School)
  • City’s Corp Yard
  • Centromart Building

The first site is still not completely disregarded is the Sheriff’s Delta Sub Station, at 210 O’Hara Ave. The Committee will soon be meeting with the Sheriff Livingston to get a definitive answer regarding the feasibility of transitioning the deputies to another location.

The Committee talked with Supervisors Mary Piepho and Federal Glover regarding the status of the building on O’Hara Ave. Both Supervisors would support an effort to move ownership of the building from the county to the City of Oakley if Sheriff Livingston could find a new site for the Delta Station. In initial discussions, Sheriff Livingston indicated he would like to move, however, the county’s current budget constraints would make the move itself cost prohibitive.

The intent of the Committee was to save money on the cost of land acquisition by asking the County to deed it back to the City for public use, more specifically a library. While the façade could be maintained the building would have to be renovated and built out, as the space is currently less than what the library uses now. The entire parcel available at 54,000 square feet would allow ample space for growth.

The second site that was considered is known as the Moura Site. This 6.22 acres City-owned site is also on O’Hara and that formerly housed the Delta Family YMCA. This location would require ground up construction of a new building adding a significant amount to the cost of the facility. Another concern with the location is the proximity to O’Hara Park Middle School. We’ve learned from other County libraries currently located near schools that the proximity to schools results in periods of the day when the library could turn into a “day care option” proving disruptive to other patrons of the facility.

The City’s corp yard, adjacent to City Hall was considered, but deemed necessary for public works use and for the potential, future location of an expanded police department.

Most recently, there has been some thought given to converting the 15,000 square foot, Centromart building into a library. This site recently became an option since the deal between the City and DG Market fell through. While some would much prefer seeing the building remain retail, the Committee is happy to compromise, by adding a small retail shop in the front, perhaps a coffee shop, similar to what has been done at the Walnut Creek and Orinda libraries. This option would require the Redevelopment Successor Agency and Oversight Board to deed the building back to the City for governmental use. Cost savings associated with this approach would be significant versus bottom-up construction.

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About Kevin

Mayor - City of Oakley, Data Center Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit and Transplan
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3 Responses to Is a Downtown Library in Oakley’s Future?

  1. Julie Perry says:

    I support moving the library from it’s current cramped, noisy space at Freedom High to the Centro Mart site. It would be easily accessible and the library would be able to expand and support our Oakley community with more programs: educational and fun, while still expanding the book collection. There would also be room for a children’s area, teen area and quiet areas for study. With a coffee shop it could become a sweet place to meet up with friends and would become a hub to bring people downtown.

  2. Leonard Lloyd says:

    Although locating the Oakley branch library in the former CentrOmart building does not provide retail sales nor property taxes, a grocery store is not a major source of sales tax, either. Having our library there, especially if teamed with a coffee house type retail service, would bring a high volume of visits to the location, inviting library patrons to do business nearby, without even moving their parked car. For those who walk, bicycle or take the bus, the advantage of taking advantage of several services in one stop would help the businesses near the library succeed. Even Big Bear Diner across Main Street would benefit from having the library so close by.

  3. My preference is for CentrOmart, since it’s closest to my house and also gives the library a lot of room to grow. Including a cafe of some kind as part of the establishment makes sense, especially if there’s free Wi-Fi. (Bookstores took this approach for some time, and it did encourage people to hang out there.) It’s also a large enough space that they could include study rooms and meeting rooms.

    Obviously turning a grocery store into a library/cafe is an expensive proposition. I recommend IndieGoGo for fundraising, as it enables people to contribute in almost any amount and would make it easy to get support from those with ties to Oakley but who no longer live there.

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