North East of­fi­cials ex­press sup­port for new town li­brary



— A day be­fore the pub­lic hear­ing for the fis­cal year 2017 county bud­get, town of­fi­cials ex­pressed sup­port for one par­tic­u­lar bud­get item: a new town li­brary.

Last sum­mer, the county pur­chased 3.5 acres in the North East Sta­tion Shop­ping Cen­ter with plans to build a 45,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity for an es­ti­mated $14.85 mil­lion. Though the de­sign phase of the project wasn’t orig­i­nally slated for fund­ing un­til 2019, town of­fi­cials re­cently re­ceived news that the pro­posed fis­cal year 2017 bud­get moves that up to 2018.

North East town of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day night that they’re hope­ful the project re­mains on track for fis­cal year 2018 fund­ing, not­ing that the town has long needed a big­ger fa­cil­ity.

Though North East’s pop­u­la­tion is sim­i­lar to Elkton’s, its li­brary is only one-tenth the size of Elkton’s branch li­brary. Town of­fi­cials re­cently met with the li­brary board about the project, and Mayor Robert McKnight said the town is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the project in


any­way it can.

“It’s a big deal, it’s a huge deal,” he said. “It’s a re­gional li­brary that will serve at least 26,000 peo­ple. So we want to do what we can for it and be be­hind it.”

Town Ad­min­is­tra­tor Melissa CookMacKen­zie pointed out that North East al­ready has many res­i­dents who are ac­tive in sup­port­ing the li­brary.

“We are in a rich en­vi­ron­ment as far as sup­port­ers be­cause we are the home of most of the civic league folks,” she said. “We also have a lot of res­i­dents who are mem­bers of the Friends of the Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­brary, but that doesn’t mean we can’t con­tinue to ed­u­cate those that aren’t fa­mil­iar with this.”

Li­brary of­fi­cials up­dated the county coun­cil on its plans for a new North East branch in Septem­ber, not­ing that of the 45,000 square feet, 30,000 would be for pub­lic use and 15,000 would be for the li­brary ad­min­is­tra­tive staff’s head­quar­ters. Hav­ing the staff re­lo­cate from the Elkton Cen­tral Li­brary would free up about 8,000 square feet there for ad­di­tional pub­lic use.

Un­der the pro­posed time­line, a new North East branch wouldn’t be open for pub­lic use un­til 2021 or 2022.


The cur­rent North East branch li­brary is about 2,800-square-feet, but the plans for its re­place­ment call for a 45,000-square-foot cen­tral county head­quar­ters.

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