On Thursday 9/3/2015 the Friends of the Hayward Library posted this online petition Save Hayward's 21st Century Library and Heritage Plaza.

This was in response to the Hayward Creative Community Space's Save the Old Hayward Library petition. (8/29/2015) This creative group includes the Hayward Arts Council, Sun Gallery, and many other members of the community.

The Friends of the Hayward Library say in their petition that: "This much-needed and long hoped-for project is under attack, and we need your help to save it!"

Unfortunately the signers of this petition were misled to believe, based on a majority of comments, that the Creative Community group wishes to derail the building of the NEW 21st Century Library.  This is simply NOT TRUE!  Our Creative Community would like to see the NEW 21st Century Library continue to move forward and constructed as planned!

Please read more below about the inaccuracies in the Friends of Hayward Library's petition.

Correcting the Inaccuracies about Saving the Old Hayward Library

“Thanks to Hayward voters who in 2014 overwhelmingly approved Measure C by a 2-to-1 margin, the project is fully funded and we are poised to break ground on a beautiful, modern, environmentally sustainable new 21st Century Library and Heritage Plaza Arboretum for the entire Hayward community to enjoy for generations to come.”

INACCURATE: “But now a small group of people have decided that they want the City Council to change the project at the last minute, essentially to cast aside and disregard the work done by thousands of Hayward residents who participated in the many public design workshops and surveys that were held over the past seven years.”

FACT: People from numerous local organizations such as Hayward Arts Council, Sun Gallery, Chabot College, etc. are asking to retain the old library building for use as a Creative Community Center.

FACT: This does not have to be “either-or”; we can support a new library AND support saving the old Library building!

INACCURATE: “These latecomers want to eliminate the Heritage Plaza Arboretum from the project. Not only would this deprive Hayward of its historic central plaza for all time, but it would actually increase the overall cost to taxpayers by up to $8 million.” 

FACT: We support the Arboretum – we do not want to disturb the beautiful trees on the property.  We just don’t want the old Library building torn down.  Why would it cost up to $8 million to avoid tearing down the old building?  We have no knowledge of why this would cost $8 million.  In fact, it could save the City between $5.2 million and $8.8 million, which is the cost of tearing down the building and making a plaza. 

INACCURATE: “They also want to eliminate the rainwater storage system and throw away the chance to save 400,000 gallons of rainwater each year, during the worst drought in decades.”

FACT: According to calculations, the payoff on this rainwater storage system would take about 600 years at current water costs in the city – you read correctly: 600 years! Is that the best use of over 5 million taxpayer dollars?  This is not really about saving water, it is about getting a special plaque on the new library wall that certifies it as a green building.  We think a vibrant Creative Community Center is a better use of this space – and a better way to be “green” by creative re-use of a building loved by many.

INACCURATE: “Why do they want to do this? Because they want the City Council to give them the old, deteriorating library building for free – a building which needs an estimated $4 million to $8 million in repairs, and which costs Hayward taxpayers over $200,000 per year for upkeep alone – so this small group of people can use it for their own special interests.”

FACT: We have not asked the City for anything – except not to tear down the old Library building!  This may in fact save the City money – specifically, the $5-8 million currently planned to tear down the old building and make a plaza.  A plaza across from another plaza (in front of City Hall).  A plaza where entertainment will not be heard due to traffic noise.  A plaza with no restrooms.  Do you think this plaza will attract positive influences?  Do you think this is a good use of $5-8 million of taxpayer money?

FACT: According to a current City Council Member, the City’s budget for maintenance and utilities for the old Library building is $110,000 – so why is this number consistently inflated to $200K?  Where do they get their $4-8 million figures for repair?  These figures may have been fabricated in the effort to lobby for a new library.  We are working on a budget for rehabilitation and reuse of the old library building as a Creative Community Center.  We envision it to provide a place for art, creativity, and community work by local artists, artisans, craftsmen, creators, community members, and community organizations. When the new 21st Century Library is built, we believe that the old library building would be an excellent location for this “Hayward Arts and Community Center.” 

Everyone benefits from access to art and creativity in an aesthetic and accessible place, and the Center would improve the community and help revitalize downtown Hayward. The Library Plaza would be enhanced by having a focal point. The Hayward Arts Council, Sun Gallery, A.R.T. Inc., individuals at HARD, members of the staff and faculty at Chabot College, and the Friends of the Arts at California State University East Bay, all support the creation of this center, which shows wide support on behalf of the community. 

We have many people volunteering their time to make this happen, including art expertise, legal expertise, tech expertise, community organizing and grant writing.  We plan to seek grants to rehab the building and run the space, as a coordinated effort among community members and agencies.  This would be a positive thing for Hayward.  Please support a vibrant, creative re-use of an existing building, rather than tearing down another historic building to leave another empty lot in Hayward.