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Davis, California

Friday, May 24, 2024

Representative Mike Thompson presents $850,000 check for Walnut Park Library project

The initiative is meant to expand community services with expected completion by 2026


By ALEXANDRA SHAPIRO — city@theaggie.org


On March 25, Representative Mike Thompson secured a boost to the city of Davis by presenting an $850,000 check for the South Davis Library project. This funding was secured as part of the government funding bill signed into law on March 9, 2024.

The Walnut Park Library project has been long awaited. Davis residents first recognized the need for a library south of I-80 in 2001, and the demand for expansion led to the land allocation in 2002. Still, it was not until 2017 that the Yolo County Library Facilities Master Plan began Phase One of the project.

In 2020, community partners discussed service needs for a South Davis library branch and architects began developing design concepts. Significant progress was made in 2022 when the Yolo County Library received $8.7 million as part of the Building Forward Grant from the California State Library. The city of Davis’ commitment in 2023 granted $1.5 million towards the project and further advanced its progress.

The Walnut Park Library, scheduled for completion in 2026, will be located at 2700 Lillard Drive at the west end of Walnut Park. The facility will occupy over 12,000 square feet, providing a vibrant space for learning and community engagement. The project’s total cost is estimated at approximately $21.3 million, with funding provided by the State of California and administered by the California State Library.

This new establishment responds to the needs of an economically disadvantaged area that has experienced significant population growth in the last two decades. 

“The South Davis Library will greatly benefit a community that currently does not have access to a library by expanding library services and establishing literacy programs for children and adults,” Thompson said in a press release.

 Doubling as a community center, the library is proposed to be open six days a week, ensuring accessible services and resources for residents.

 “I am glad that Davis leaders brought this project to my attention, and I am proud I was able to secure the funding in government funding bills. In addition, this space will help to protect our community from extreme weather by serving as a warming and cooling center and a place to shelter from smoke,” Thompson said. I look forward to seeing this project move forward and benefit the entire Davis community.”

In 1968, Davis introduced its initial branch library, now known as the Mary L. Stephens Library, last renovated in 2010. However, by 2014, the Mary L. Stephens Library reached maximum capacity and continues facing challenges such as inadequate seating, tables and parking.

Thompson’s new funds for the South Davis library prove a significant investment in community infrastructure and a promising step towards addressing the needs of underserved populations in Davis. 

“The Walnut Park Library project will be a tremendous asset to the South Davis community,” Davis Mayor Josh Chapman said in a press release. “The funding support received, including $850,000 from Representative Mike Thompson’s office, $8.7 million from the California State Library and the City’s own donation of $1.5 million, will bring invaluable services and programs to the children and residents of this community. I am so proud to have been a part of this collaborative process to provide a state-of-the-art library to South Davis.”


Written by: Alexandra Shapiro city@theaggie.org


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