No decision has been made on just how large the new Liberty branch will be.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The Warren-Trumbull County Public Library board will pay $236,000 for nearly four acres for a future Cortland library branch.
The board approved the agreement Tuesday to buy the property on Wakefield Drive between the high school and middle school properties. Robert Briell, library director, said the property is owned by a consortium.
A new branch will not be constructed until at least 2007.
"The cost of property in Cortland isn't getting any cheaper," Briell said.
The 4,000-square-foot Cortland branch at 212 N. High St., is cramped and the property is landlocked, Briell said. The site accommodates about 20 parked cars and the new property will fit about 100 cars, he said.
The board will use $60,000 left to the board in the Hodd family estate to cover some of the cost of the property. The Hodds, a Cortland family, bequeathed the money to the board for a Cortland branch, library officials said.
Liberty branch: The board also talked about the future of a new Liberty Township branch. Construction of that project, at the former student parking lot of the old Liberty High School, was expected to start by May 2002. The school board sold the property to the library for $65,000 under the condition that construction start by May 2002.
That branch would replace a storefront branch in the Liberty Plaza that opened in November 1998. The board talked about a 8,000-square-foot to 10,000-square-foot Liberty branch, and the cost would run $1 million to $1.25 million, based on $125 per square foot.
But the size of the project may have to be scaled back depending on the state budget. The Ohio Supreme Court is reviewing Gov. Bob Taft's school funding proposal. The plan would cut library funding and may cause the library board to build a smaller branch.
That news prompted Liberty Trustee Patricia Metzinger to initiate a fund-raising campaign to try to raise $350,000 to $500,000 for the project.
"We'd like to see it remain at 10,000 square feet so we can have programs that we aren't able to have now," Metzinger said.
Reality: Board members said no decisions have been made on the size of the Liberty project.
"We have to recognize realities," said James Duff, board president. "We've not made a decision, but the scope and size of the project will be driven by the funds available. The needs of the community will certainly be weighed in that decision."
Martha Ellers, board member, suggested asking the board of education to extend for another year the time frame by which construction may start. That would enable the board to have a better idea of its funding situation.
Darlene St. George, township administrator, said she would talk to school district officials about the extension.
"That's really our mission, to work with you," St. George told library board members. "We're here to work with you to make the project happen."