Grove City Record

Beulah plan could affect new library

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At least one possibility for redeveloping Beulah Park could impact where the new Grove City Library is constructed.

Nothing is official or decided yet, but one possible idea for Beulah Park was presented to Grove City Council members Feb. 3 by Joe Ciminello, developer of the Pinnacle Golf Club and housing development.

It proposes a Grove City community recreation center at the heart of the racetrack property, to become vacant this summer. And it identifies other uses including single-family and multi-family housing, about 50 acres of commercial/industrial flex space, memorial gardens and park space built around the old finish line and the community center.

To promote connectivity between Beulah and the Town Center, that plan also would extend Columbus Street into the property, a change that would impact the configuration of the new Grove City Library.

Plans currently are underway to relocate Southwest Public Library's Grove City branch from 3359 Park St. to the intersection of Broadway and Grant Avenue, which would put it in the way of an extension of Columbus Street. While the library could remain at the same intersection, it would no longer front Broadway as originally proposed if an extension were built.

At the library's board of trustees meeting Feb. 11, City Administrator Chuck Boso said an extension of Columbus Street would give the city and board some different options once an architect is hired to design the new library.

"The goal is to keep the project going," Boso said. "We just work with the architect and see where we go."

It would also mean the city would have to purchase more land, something Boso said the city is "not adverse to."

In a letter to Boso in response to his presentation at the meeting, Library Director Mark Shaw said the board sees advantages to an extension of Columbus Street, including allowing access to the library property through an intersection regulated by a traffic light.

The letter also identified concerns of the board, including adequate parking, the functionality of the building and whether an extension would delay the project. The board, according to the letter, needs assurance the overall goal of an "attractive and functional" 48,000-square-foot library be met and a road extension will not "significantly delay" the library project.

"When are we going to say we're done?" asked Trustee Pattie Moncman. "Someone could come forward next week with another plan. Where does it end?"

Trustee Jill Billman-Royer said the board's primary goal is to build the new library that was promised to patrons.

"It's just not our responsibility to do the downtown planning of the city," she said.

In his letter, Shaw said the agreement between the city and library board would need to be modified to ensure the new library would have adequate and contiguous parking.

"We do not under any circumstances want (patrons) crossing a busy street," Shaw said at the meeting. "My worst nightmare is a woman with a kid is crossing the street, and they're hit by a car. I lose sleep over that."

In other news from the library:

* Trisha Wentzel was sworn in as a trustee Feb. 11, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Richard Curtiss. Wentzel was selected from a group of five candidates at a special board meeting on Jan. 28, and voted in by the South-Western City Schools Board of Education Feb. 10.

* On Feb. 1, SPL began offering patrons Freegal, a free downloadable music service, through its website, swpl.org. Through Freegal, patrons are able to use their library card numbers and PIN to download music and music videos to keep.

Freegal features seven million songs and more than 15,000 music videos. Patrons are limited to three downloads per week.

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