Friday, February 6, 2004

Larger library depends on finding enough funds

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Colleen Pyron of Liberty Township reads with her children Riley, 2, and Josh, 6, in the West Chester Library on Cox Road.
(Michael Snyder photo)
WEST CHESTER TWP. - A new, larger library could still be in this growing community's future.

Township trustees last week authorized new discussions with the Middletown Library Board, which oversees the West Chester Library, about a new building.

Initial talks in 2002 about a possible 100,000-square-foot library near Liberty Township fell through because of a lack of funds, but Trustee President Catherine Stoker said money from a tax increment finance district in the Union Centre Boulevard area could possibly be used to pay for the project.

"Having a library downtown, in my personal opinion, would be very good for our downtown area," she said.

The West Chester Library, which operates out of a 15,000-square-foot building on Cox Road, is bursting at the seams, officials say.

Higher circulation

Clients checked out about 1.14 million items from the library in 2003, a 5 percent increase from the previous year.

Branch manager Steve Mayhugh said officials are willing to work with the township when it is ready.

"At this point it's up to the (trustees) to get the ball rolling again," he said.

The township's 2012 Vision and Implementation Strategies Plan, adopted in 1993, called for a second library by 1997.

In a staff review of the 20-year plan last year, Assistant Administrator Judith Carter said, "The Middletown Public Library Board has determined that one larger library facility is more cost effective for West Chester. Site selection and financing committees have been created to investigate the need."

Doug Bean, director of the Middletown Public Library, said the need hasn't gone away.

"We're suffering from success, and the only solution is more space."

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