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Libraries Wait For 2004 Bond

As far as two Friends of the Library groups are concerned, all eyes are on the next bond referendum for a new library in Burke and Oakton. The two groups have land set aside and the preliminary plans on paper but are banking on the vote in the November 2004 bond, of which $50 million is for the libraries.

First, the bond officially has to get on the ballot, and that is done by the Board of Supervisors and public input in January. The final amount [for libraries] will be determined by the Board of Supervisors in its budget deliberations this spring, according to library spokesperson Lois Kirkpatrick.

"I hope it passes," said Pat Riedinger, one of the founding members of the Friends of the Burke Library. The land they have is along the Fairfax County Parkway near Fred Oaks Road. They have participated in fund-raisers at the Burke Centre Fall Festival and the Burke Centre Yard Sale in the spring. An architect is working on plans, and the Friends of the Burke Library hope to have an artist's rendering of the library by October.

Linda Byrne is the vice president of the Friends for the Oakton Library. She's seen the group's efforts for this library. Suggestions for the 19-acre parcel in Oakton included a shopping center or housing.

"The land for the Oakton Library was the result of the community associations and the supervisors coming together," Byrne said. "This library is particularly important to the village of Oakton."

One source of money the library supporters had their eyes on is from the $39 million surplus the Board of Supervisors has been making plans for. According to Riedinger, they were hoping the Board of Supervisors would allot $1.9 million for the libraries, with $1 million going to Burke and the rest going to Oakton. Although that money will not be enough to break ground on the projects, it would have been for planning and development. However, the libraries were not included when the Board of Supervisors divided that money up.

"We put in a request," said library board member Mark Sickles.

In addition to the new libraries, the bond in November 2004 will also go into renovating four of the older county libraries. That includes the Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church, the Richard Byrd Library in Springfield, the Dolly Madison Library in McLean and the Martha Washington Library in Alexandria.

BURKE CENTRE is a homeowners group run by the Burke Conservancy. Although this library will be called the Burke Centre Library, it is a county facility and not under the scrutiny of the Conservancy. Currently, Burke residents use the Kings Park and Pohick Libraries, which both have high usage numbers.

"It will help relieve the congestion at both these libraries," Riedinger said.

Although the bond is important to the future of the Burke Centre library, Riedinger said that they will not give up if this bond is not passed. It would just be a delay.

"If the bond doesn't pass, we'll have to wait for the next bond referendum," she said.

The Kingstowne Library is currently housed in a temporary site in the Landsdowne Shopping Center, on the southern end of Kingstowne. The county has land for the new facility near the intersection of the Springfield-Franconia Parkway and Beulah Street, but that library will not be included with this bond referendum, according to Sickles.

"Kingstowne Library will come in the next bond referendum," after the November 2004 vote, he said.