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Still plugging on Library Week. I should have some information about construction costs, but I just got a tidbit I thought was related to the introduction I did on Monday.

Remember, one of my central points of concern about the library is the lack of a new estimate for how much it’s going to cost. The last one came out in late 2005 in the midst of a major escalation in construction costs.

But the library’s boosters do not plan to commission a new estimate of the project until they have raised about $50 million from private donors. I found this a bit odd and unfortunate for the donors. They were, in essence, being asked to commit to something without having the entire cost of the project available to them. To get the cost of the project, they have to donate.

You’ll remember, I made the analogy that my dad would never give me a gift of cash for a new house — even if he were inclined to do that — under these circumstances.

Well, it turns out, the state of California is a lot like my dad.

One of the major justifications for building the library is that the state has offered up a $20 million grant. But the state will not release that money until the city provides it with an updated cost estimate.

Now, doing cost estimates are not cheap. Darren Greenhalgh is the city engineer who, up until a couple of months ago, was the project manager for the library. He said that getting cost estimates for a project like this can run as much as $40,000 to $50,000.

“It’s a very expensive effort to go through. We’d like to delay that until we’re certain we’re going forward,” Greenhalgh said.

Again, as Mel Katz said the other day, for the project to go forward, they need to raise money from private donors.

SCOTT LEWIS

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