Grove City leaders have an idea of what to do with the lumberyard site – move the library there.
The Southwest Public Library (SWPL) Board of Trustees passed a resolution last week that would allow Mark Shaw, library director, to enter into negotiations with the city of Grove City to relocate the Grove City library branch.
"This does not commit us to anything," said Shaw. "It just allows us to talk to the city."
Shaw said he had been having "on-again, off-again conversations" with the city but now the city has a renewed interest.
The lumberyard site is located behind City Hall and is approximately 160,000 square feet, which includes the City Hall parking lot. The development of the site has been essential to the revitalization of the Town Center.
"Libraries bring in a lot of traffic," said Grove City Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage, who has been working to get the Town Center plan moving. He believes a library in that location would bring residents and visitors to the downtown area.
Stage also said the city wants to have an updated library.
"The last time the library had major improvements was in 1974," he noted. "It’s outdated."
The current library on Park Street is about 37,000 square feet. Shaw said a new location and larger site would allow more space for books, programming, public service and parking.
"We desperately need more space," Shaw said.
The negotiations are in the preliminary stages. Shaw said there has been no land purchased or no price attached.
"The city is aware that the funding will have to come from them," said Shaw who explained that SWPL funding has been strained for the past seven years.
Stage explained that funding is part of the discussions, but said the city could acquire the current library site. The money from the acquisition would help the branch move into a new site.
Stage said the city is considering several options regarding what to do with the existing site, if the library were to relocate. He said they have contacted several colleges and universities for the possibility of housing off campus courses. This is also an option for the would-be new site.
The city could also use the current library site for small business incubators or city functions.
Grove City is under contract with Lincoln Street Studios to develop the Town Center plan. For progress on the plan, log onto grovecityohio.gov.
Stage explained that the city will have ongoing discussions with SWPL, but he is hoping they will have a more concrete plan put together by mid October, when the city will holds its State of the City Address.