The Delaware County District Library has chosen a space in a proposed development at Home and Steitz roads for its new Powell branch.

At their March 19 meeting, the library's board of trustees announced the site had been chosen unanimously over one other option, which library leaders never revealed.

"I don't think any of us have any doubts at all," board member Holly Quaine said.

Trustee Michael Butler said the group "spent a lot of time" making the decision and said "no initial findings" ruled out either of the potential sites, but said the eventual choice was a collaborative effort.

"While we didn't always agree on everything initially, we came to the conclusion for the best site possible for the Delaware County library system," he said. "We had a lot of discussion and we interacted well, and we came up with something that made a lot of sense for the future of the library."

The 11.7-acre development project, helmed by developer John Wicks, plans two 7,000-square-foot retail spaces and 68 townhomes and "garden apartments" aimed at young professionals and future employees of Ohio State University's planned ambulatory-care center at Home Road and Sawmill Parkway.

Wicks, who attended the March 19 meeting, gave a subtle fist pump in celebration after the decision was announced. He told trustees he was thrilled with their choice.

"We're very grateful they chose our site," he said. "We're willing to do anything we can to make sure the process is smooth."

Library director George Needham said the Home and Steitz location was chosen for "a number of reasons."

"One is the easy access on and off of two major roads," he said. "Another was that the strength of the community support we had was very heartening. The third thing was that the land is where the population is going.

"As we see in Delaware County, the population is moving north. We can see the number of subdivisions that are planned in that area and the ones that are already there. This location is very close to the Olentangy Liberty school complex and it's also very close to the Concord Township line. So we're really excited about this new location."

The new library building is expected to be about 20,000 square feet and two floors.

Powell's existing branch at 460 S. Liberty St. will continue operating -- a decision branch Manager Amanda Hening said has been a source of positive feedback.

"I've had almost daily comments," she said. "The community loves that branch."

No timeline has been set for the library to purchase the space, nor has a construction schedule been set.

Needham said earlier this month he would like to see an architect and construction manager chosen in late spring or early summer, hold public meetings in the summer and have plans finalized by the end of the year, "so that we break ground next spring and open in 2021."

He told trustees the next step in the process will be to determine whether the library will pay for the new building with cash or if it will pay off the remaining bonds on the Orange Township branch and issue new bonds for the new Powell location.

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