Grove City Record

If library wants to stay put, city still could help

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Grove City Council has a new proposal that calls for keeping the Grove City Library at its current site.

Because of Labor Day, City Council’s regular meeting early this week was pushed to Tuesday, Sept. 2, and at that meeting, it was scheduled to vote on a resolution expressing support of redeveloping the current library site, 3359 Park St., instead of relocating to the intersection of Broadway and Grant Street.

The city and the Southwest Public Libraries board of trustees previously agreed, as part of a redevelopment of the Town Center proposed by the Pizzuti Cos., to partner on the construction of a new, 48,000-square-foot library at Broadway and Grant. But in recent months, progress on the project has halted over discussions about extending Columbus Street across Broadway through a portion of the new library parcel and tying it into Mill Street. At its last meeting, council voted 4-1 in favor of realigning Columbus Street with Mill Street.

The new resolution also promises the “necessary City resources” and the “same level of financial commitment” the city agreed to last year when City Council authorized City Administrator Chuck Boso to enter into an agreement with Southwest Public Libraries.

Under the terms of the previously agreed to financial arrangement between the city and library, which was based on an estimated $14 million project, the library would contribute $2 million up front and eventually deed the land for its existing Park Street property, valued at $2.5 million, to the city. The city would finance $9.5 million through 30-year bonds with an estimated interest rate of 3.75 percent, and the city and the library would split the cost of the debt service, each paying $265,087.50 annually, or $22,091 per month.

Councilwoman Laura Lanese, who proposed the resolution and voted against the realignment of Columbus Street, said the resolution aims to address issues surrounding the library project, namely safety and funding.

“I do think (the existing library site) is the safest location,” she said. “I’m trying to get the library what they need. ... It’s a starting point for discussion.”

Lanese said the resolution frees up the Broadway and Grant location for other development and eliminates the need for a realignment of Columbus Street.

Councilman Steve Bennett declined to say how he would vote on the resolution but said the whole point of funding the project was to bring it closer to the Town Center and make it a focal point.

Ultimately, Bennett said, it’s up to the library trustees to decide where to build a new library. A third option he said he’d like them to consider is building behind City Hall, 4035 Broadway, because both the existing site and the Grant Street-Broadway parcel have issues.

“They have other options,” Bennett said. “It’s not really the city’s decision to tell them where to go.”

Councilman Jeff Davis said he will support where the library decides to go, including staying put on Park Street, but added he thinks the community would be better served by a library on Broadway without an extension or realignment of Columbus Street.

“I will be regretful if we lose the opportunity on Broadway,” he said. “I think it’s something that would make us unique in central Ohio.”

Council President Ted Berry and Councilwoman Maria Klemack-McGraw could not be reached for comment before publication.

Library Director Mark Shaw said the library trustees want to discuss both ideas at their next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Grove City Library.

“We’re going to ask (council) to keep the idea open until the board can debate it next week,” he said.

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