County takes option on site of new library, headquarters

Well water yield question

location, price undisclosed


May 31, 2002|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

The owner of the proposed site of a Finksburg branch library and administrative headquarters has agreed to a purchase option with the county, the commissioners said yesterday.

The county's purchase of the property depends on whether the land drains properly for a septic system and whether there is enough water to support a 24,500-square-foot facility.

County officials, who would not divulge the location of the property or the cost, plan to formalize the purchase option with the owner on Tuesday.

"We need time to examine the property," said Commissioner Donald I. Dell, explaining the reason behind the purchase option. "At the end of that time, usually 60 days, you can opt out if you're not satisfied."

Ralph E. Green, director of the county's permits, inspections and review department, said the property's existing well has a low water yield. Another well could be drilled but that decision would be made after the deal is finalized.

Plans call for a library branch and headquarters under one roof - one occupying 10,000 square feet and the other, 14,500 square feet. More than $3 million is being set aside for the project, which has been outlined in the county's capital improvement program.

"That's what we're thinking, though nothing is etched in stone at this time," Dell said.

Plans for the branch have fallen through in the past. Two years ago, a $1.7 million plan was proposed to build a 5,000- square-foot building for Finksburg library patrons but was turned down by the commissioners. The planning commission endorsed the project but the county eliminated it from the construction budget.

Other relocation possibilities for the library offices have included the former Westminster Post Office on Main Street, the firehouse and the basement of the library's Westminster branch.

"Actually it's real progress," library director Linda Mielke said of the proposed site. "The Finksburg/Sandymount library has been on in our planning documents for 10 years. It's a goal we've been working toward for a long time. It looks to me that this could all work out."

With the library's 10-year lease at Airport Park north of Westminster up next year, the timing couldn't be better - the opening of the new building is scheduled for 2004.

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