Carroll library eyes new headquarters

Plan is to build adjacent to new Finksburg branch

April 07, 2002|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

Everyone wants a place to call home, and the administrative offices of the Carroll County Public Library are no exception.

With the library's 10-year lease at the Airport Park north of Westminster expiring next year, library officials are ready for a change of scenery.

That change appears to be on its way, with the county putting aside about $3 million to build a library headquarters next to the planned library branch in Finksburg.

"Nobody in America wants to pay rent," said Linda Mielke, the county's library director. "Especially the county."

The proposed 14,500-square- foot facility is listed in the county's capital improvements budget as part of a project that includes the Finksburg library branch.

The county is looking at a prospective site and is waiting to see whether a well and septic system there can serve the library's needs.

"If we add a library to headquarters, it will satisfy the Finksburg community and take the pressure off the Eldersburg and Westminster libraries," said Commissioner Donald I. Dell. "I'm hopeful it'll work out."

Plans call for a 10,000-square-foot branch in Finksburg. The complex is expected to open in fiscal year 2004 or 2005.

The county is expected to allocate an additional $600,000 for the projects in fiscal 2004, which begins July 1, 2003, for equipment and furniture, officials said.

"I'm hopeful the county can stop renting" space at Airport Park, Dell said, noting the move to permanent headquarters would save the county money in the long run.

"It's a good project, if we can just make it move."

Dell said the proposed location is practical given the logistics of dealing with the big trucks that frequently go in and out of headquarters because of its role as the primary distribution center for the Westminster, Taneytown, Mount Airy, Eldersburg and North Carroll library branches.

"It's a much more convenient location than the other plan we had of renovating the basement of the Westminster library for headquarters," he said.

Library officials would like to keep headquarters in Westminster, but Mielke said they realize it's not cost effective.

Rent and utilities at 115 Airport Drive up to Feb. 28 of this fiscal year was $182,360.

Previous attempts to move the library offices have fallen through.

In 1996, the library expressed interest in moving into the old Westminster Post Office, now occupied by Kohn Design & Printing Co.

In 1995, there was talk of relocating to the firehouse. Neither proposal worked out.

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