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Grand Opening of the Renton Library at Cedar River

The renovated community icon re-opens to the public

· Photography,City Life,Public Commons,Renton,Campaign
Renton Library KCLS at Cedar River, Renton, Wash.
The Cedar River, Renton, Wash.
Ribbon at door of the KCLS Renton Library at Cedar River, Renton, Wash.

The long-awaited library at Cedar River re-opened with much ado + adoration by community leaders + residents on August 22, 2015 after the location won a vote of 76% in August 2012.

The library would later win an architectural award for its design in collaboration with the City of Renton, King County Library System (KCLS), + residents by Miller Hull Partnership.

Man reads book at the KCLS Renton Library at Cedar River at the grand opening, Renton, Wash.
Windows at the KCLS Renton Library at Cedar River, Renton, Wash.

The library's colorful history included two campaigns to preserve the historic location, + to put the location on ballot instead of relocating the library without public input. The fate in question involved relocation of the community icon, which created a stir that led to two grassroots campaigns to petition for the library to stay, + then to vote for the location at Cedar River.

The heart of the matter with community icons is to let people have a say in its preservation, location, + use. It's important to integrate placemaking into the public commons because people care + use these spaces regularly as part of their daily life for where they call "home."

Thankfully, after much conversation + press, the city agreed to put the matter to special ballot, + the public voted to keep the library at the Cedar River.

Hazen High School marching band at library grand opening, Renton, Wash.

KCLS renovated the building, + the building re-opened complete with speeches + the Hazen High School marching band. Not mentioned in the speeches, I want to personally thank the campaign leaders on both "sides" for contributing to preserving the integration of public comment into placemaking. Libraries, after all, are community icons.

The KCLS Renton Library at Cedar River, Renton, Wash.

I participated with the grassroots campaigns with a focused effort on putting the matter to public decision based on my values for democratic participation in community icons. My efforts involved coaching individuals for public comment + speeches, blogging in an approachable way, social media integration, writing press releases + letters to the editor, city council, + attorney, photographing events, spokesperson to the press, + attending campaign + council meetings. I worked to tone down the strife to a respectful consensus that integrated the public's desires into placemaking. I appreciated the opportunity to contribute to my locale in an engaged way.

The Cedar River Trail, Renton, Wash.

At the re-opening, I was grateful that my newly growing family could enjoy the library at Cedar River with other residents for years to come.

Thank you, Renton, for listening to your constituents. Please continue to do so to preserve the small-town feel in a growing city that Renton is because there's much more to do to follow the sound principles of placemaking + healthful cities! Learn more about healthy placemaking from the International Federation for Housing and Planning.