The city of Medford would like to lease out the historic Carnegie building in Alba Park. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]

Historic Carnegie needs a renter

For more than a decade, the historic Carnegie Library has sat mostly empty, but now the Medford City Council wants to look for a nonprofit that might need a home.

The city inherited the building in Alba Park in 2005, when the Carnegie closed and the new Medford library on Central Avenue opened.

Built in 1911, the Carnegie is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

After spending $1.5 million remodeling the building in 2008 to 2010, the city looked for ways to use it more frequently but without much success. On Thursday, the council instructed city staff to look for someone to lease it.

Councilor Tim Jackle said he would like to reach out to nonprofits specifically.

Jackle said he thought an agency that provided a community service would be the most likely candidate. The selection of the nonprofit by the council would be based on "subjective opinion" rather than just scoring points, as with other agreements.

Whoever leases the building would be responsible for maintenance and would be subject to additional planning requirements for a historic building.

Currently, 756 square feet of the 15,262-square-foot building is leased out to City/County Insurance Services. Some city departments use a portion of the building for meetings and temporary projects.

"I wouldn't think we should be limited to nonprofits," Councilor Kim Wallan said. She wondered why the council wouldn't entertain for-profits in its search.

But Councilor Kay Brooks said she agreed with Jackle. "It should be for the public good."

Brooks said she also thought the nonprofit should make the building accessible to the public on weekends.

"We're just looking for a public good," Councilor Kevin Stine said.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on

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