Annapolis library site search continues after potential site eliminated

September 26, 2014|By Pamela Wood | The Baltimore Sun

Anne Arundel County library officials say they may seek another site option for a new Annapolis library after one potential location was ruled out this past week.

The owners of a property in Parole, on Somerville Road between Route 2 and Old Solomons Island Road, told the library that they're not interested in selling, according to Hampton "Skip" Auld, director of the library system.

The library system had considered but then dismissed a location next to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Rowe Boulevard because of the potential for traffic problems and the high cost of building, Auld said.

Of three sites that the library has publicly discussed for the new library, the only one left is the current site — at 1410 West St. in the Germantown-Homewood neighborhood.

But Auld said library officials are investigating whether a commercial site adjacent to the Somerville Road site might be available. He said the system is also looking at a third site in the vicinity, but he would not reveal the location.

The West Street location could yield a 48,000-square foot building for $35 million or a 51,000-square-foot structure for $39 million, architect Ed Masek said this month at a community meeting.

Either option would require the county to acquire land adjoining the current library building, which opened in 1965. Property owners on both sides of the existing library have indicated they are willing to sell, Auld said.

Also, a temporary site would be needed to house the library while a permanent facility is being built.

Library officials have said they've outgrown the current West Street library, a 20,900-square-foot building constructed in 1965.

The library's board of trustees plans to vote in a couple of months to recommend a location for the new library. The county executive and County Council have the final say.

Auld said it's been difficult to find a property with the right mix of size, accessibility and affordability.

"We've kind of exhausted what's available in Annapolis," he said.

Brandon Wright, who started a Web page dedicated to keeping the library at the West Street site, http://www.libraryonwestisthebest.com, said he was glad to hear the news about the Somerville Road property and hopes the library board will decide to let the library stay put.

"You look at the cost-benefit and it makes sense to keep it there," Wright said. "You would get a larger library with more parking for less money."

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter E.B. Furgurson III contributed to this article.

pwood@baltsun.com

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