Grove City Record

Financial plans unveiled for new library

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While the city has been busy shoring up land purchases for a new Grove City public library, library and city negotiators now have agreed on a framework for financing the new facility in the Grove City Town Center.

The framework will be formally presented in coming days and weeks to Grove City Council and the Southwest Public Libraries Board of Trustees.

As part of the Town Center redevelopment plan proposed by the Pizzuti Cos., the Grove City Public Library located at 3359 Park St. would be relocated to the intersection of Broadway and Grant Avenue.

The total estimated cost of the project, which would include building a new a 50,000-square-foot library facility, is $14 million, according to information presented by Southwest Public Libraries Director Mark Shaw.

"We don't want anything opulent," Shaw said. "We just want a good, usable, attractive building."

While the exterior of the building must comply with the Town Center design and zoning requirements, the interior would be completely controlled by the library system. The architect also will be selected and supervised by the library.

"We have total control over the interior design of the building," Shaw said.

Previously, the city and library agreed that in return for the city acquiring the land for the new building, the library would contribute an upfront amount toward construction, plus an annual debt service, with both sides agreeing to the amounts.

According to the new framework, that up-front contribution from the library will be $2 million. Another $2.5 million toward the $14 million facility will come from the city, through its purchase of the library's existing Park Street property.

The remaining $9.5 million for the new library would be financed and jointly paid off by the two entities. The city will issue 30-year bonds at an effective annual interest rate of 3.75 percent.

The annual debt service would be $530,175, split evenly between the city and library at $265,087.50 each, or $22,091 per month.

After the 30 years, the library would own the Town Center property. The city would take possession of the Park Street property after the library is relocated to the new building in the Town Center, and a new City Hall is envisioned for the existing library, which is across the street from the Grove City Division of Police.

For comparison purposes to current library facilities, Shaw pointed out in his report to the library board, the library now pays $27,000 per month to lease its separate Westland location.

On April 3, members of the Southwest Public Libraries planning committee discussed the framework. In his report to the committee, Shaw said this plan is the way to achieve a new library in the foreseeable future. The library also would be able to pay for its portion without any additional taxes or revenue.

Library board Trustee Jill Billman-Royer said she was comfortable with the proposal and excited about it.

"We have a huge opportunity here," Billman-Royer said. "It's everything we've discussed. I'm really thrilled."

The existing library was last expanded in 1974 and has issues with aging infrastructure, inefficient utilities and expensive maintain and repair costs. Library officials also have said a new, flexible facility is needed to meet modern library demands including additional space for children's programming, quiet study areas, computers with Internet access and more materials.

"This definitely looks as if it'll all come together," Library Trustee Kay Byard said. "I'm very hopeful we can pull this off."

At the committee meeting April 3, Shaw said he planned to bring a resolution of support before the library board of trustees at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, April 9.

Grove City Administrator Chuck Boso said he hoped to have legislation on the financing pact for City Council's consideration on May 6.

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