By Andrea Cordle
City leaders took another step toward relocating the Grove City Library.
At the Feb. 18 meeting, Grove City Council unanimously approved legislation to appropriate $2.5 million for the development of the new library.
Law Director Stephen Smith said the measure enables the city’s administration to move forward with construction contracts.
City Administrator Chuck Boso said 11 architectural firms have submitted bids to design the library. He said a committee of three has reviewed the proposals and agreed on one firm with extensive experience in library renovations.
The city and Southwest Public Libraries, which operates the Grove City Library, have been discussing relocation for several years.
“We are very happy this project is moving forward,” said Mark Shaw, executive director of Southwest Public Libraries. “This has been in the works for a long time.”
The current library site, located on Park Street, is approximately 16,000 square feet. The new library, which will be located along Broadway, will be a 48,000 square foot space.
Shaw said the Grove City Library serves up to 2,000 patrons each day, but the new facility could bring even more people into the center per day.
“Libraries are moving away from being a book center,” said Shaw. “It is now more of a community center.”
Councilman Jeff Davis said the community should be excited about this project.
“A library is not just a compliment to a community, it is a cornerstone,” he said.
Davis, a former trustee of the library board, said a library is essential to the local community.
The relocation of the library is part of the overall plan to revitalize the Town Center. Pizzuti, a development company, has been working with the city to redevelop the downtown area. Their plan, which has been backed by city council, involves repositioning City Hall and using that building to house retail, office and restaurant space. It also includes plans to build an upscale, 120-unit apartment complex. It is a $14 million project in private investment.
The relocation of the library has been called the key factor in the redevelopment project.
Once the library moves into its new facility, the city will take ownership of the Park Street building.
Shaw said the city and library hope to break ground on the new building late this summer or early in the fall. He said it would likely take one year to complete.