A decade-long chapter on a land deal for the well-deserved and long promised new Felton Library has been concluded with an agreement with the Verutti family.
The Verutti family – Patrick and Eileen and Mike – offered a two-acre parcel on Gushee Street in Felton for a deeply discounted price of $50,000. The Veruttis donated $130,000 of the appraised value and the Felton Library Friends and the County will pay the $50,000 balance.
The Verutti family made the initial offer of the land in 2002. Originally, the Veruttis offered to donate a portion of the property. Later, the County negotiated for the entire site, which better suits the planned 9,300 square foot Veruitti Building.
The offer of land weathered three threatened library branch closures. During that time, County Supervisors and residents maintained their steadfast commitment to the project. A new Felton Library has been the top priority of the Santa Cruz County City-County Library Board.
In 2009, the Whalen Trust donated $150,000 to the Felton branch, most of which has been spent on pre-development costs. The building has been designed through information from a community assessment study in 1999 and two community meetings in 2005 and 2007. Through the years, some changes have been made, the most notable being that the building will be a net zero energy building and that the site now includes an additional parcel.
The Veruttis have deep roots in the San Lorenzo Valley. Grace and her husband, the late Jack Verutti, opened Felton Liquors 50 years ago. Their sons, Patrick and Michael, have continued and expanded the businesses to include Ben Lomond Liquors and 41st Avenue Liquors. Now in their 51st year and third generation of doing business in the San Lorenzo Valley, they have also continued a tradition of supporting community events and sports.
“The Verutti family is proud and happy to contribute land for the new Felton library. We are glad to be able to give something back to the San Lorenzo Valley residents who have given us their loyalty and support for so long,” the family said in a statement.
“The multi-million dollar project will be the largest infrastructure improvement in Felton is some time. Thanks to Judge (Jeff) Almquist who planted the seed for a new library and to Supervisor Bruce McPherson for finally making it happen.”