Long Point peninsula may get library at last -- next year

May 01, 1992|By Joel McCord | Joel McCord,Staff writer

An article in Friday's editions incorrectly stated the capacity of the proposed storefront library in Long Point Mall or Lake Shore Plaza.

The library will be able to house 47,000 volumes.

The folks on the Long Point peninsula may finally get the library they've been lobbying for the last eight years. But it won't happen for another year, according to county budget analyst Greg Nourse.

The capital budget County Executive Robert R. Neall is to release today contains a little more than $1 million for a temporary storefront library either in Long Point Mall or Lake Shore Plaza. But the operating budget does not include money for a staff at the facility, Nourse said this week.


"The money to staff the library will be in the fiscal year '94 budget, so it would open next summer," explained Nourse, chairman of a committee that studied library needs on the peninsula.

Jean Tate, a member of the committee who has been lobbying for a library on the peninsula since 1984, said she hopes the facility opens sooner than that, but seemed satisfied that it wasn't placed "in the five-year plan." The seven-member panel recommended a store-front library, "at least initially," until a permanent library can be built, Nourse said.

County officials have been negotiating with the owners of Lake Shore Plaza and Long Point Mall to rent space, he added, but only the mall has enough space available.

Last winter, that site was removed from consideration because of inadequate plumbing, a leaky roof and crumbling parking lot. But Nourse said those problems have since been repaired.

When Tate and other members of the Chesapeake Women's club began lobbying for the library, officials told them the peninsula would not support one and directed them to the

Riviera Beach library. But the group gathered 4,500 signatures on a petition for a library on the southeast end of Mountain Road, where residents complain that they have to travel 10 to 20 miles to reach the Riviera Beach or Severna Park library branches.

"About a year and a half or two years ago, they decided the area was big enough," Tate said.

The population of 50,000 is more than twice what the Riviera Beach library can handle, Nourse explained.

The panel, appointed last year, at first considered a portable structure, but abandoned the idea as too expensive, he said.

"It would cost $800,000 to $1.2 million for 4,000 square feet, and that's not enough space," Nourse said. The county could get more space for less money by setting up in a storefront, he added.

The portable structure could house only 14,000 books, while a storefront could house a collection of 400,000, he said.

Library officials will continue their search for a site for a centrally located permanent facility.

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