'Temporary' home in Marketplace at Nobles Pond could become permanent.
JACKSON TWP. The Stark County District Library's temporary home in the Marketplace at Nobles Pond could become permanent.
Tena Wilson, executive director for the Stark County District Library, is ready to recommend the library remain in the storefront — dubbed The SmartStore — and expand at that site. She plans to make the recommendation when the board meets in September.
Meanwhile, the library board's Finance Committee meets Aug. 31 and will study plans to spend about $100,000 to expand the Nobles Pond location.
A final decision will be made by the seven member library board. Remaining in the shopping plaza is one option and building a 10,000-square-foot facility is another.
It's a twist on what had been the library district's plans for a new building in Jackson Township's North Park.
The Jackson library branch moved into the storefront location, at 7186 Fulton Drive NW, last summer following a review of the old building, at 7487 Fulton Drive NW, that showed problems because of water damage. The district weighed the cost of making repairs to the building — estimated at $3.7 million — and determined it would be more cost efficient to build.
While a new building remains an option, Wilson said she believes expanding the storefront is a better move. The district could save between $5 million and $7 million over the next 20 years. The storefront provides great services and sets the library district up for the future by offering convenience, flexibility and mobility, Wilson said.
The building in North Park opened in the early 1990s. Jackson Township provided the land, while residents helped raise money. If the library district vacates North Park, it will owe Jackson Township $500,000.
As library officials were determining the building needed to be replaced, the township learned it would receive a $1 million grant to build an amphitheater in North Park. Initially Jackson trustees and library officials discussed collaborating on a building that might combine the library with the amphitheater.
Trustees and library officials have met several times and compared ideas for the project, said Todd Hawke, president of the Jackson trustees board. The project remains in planning stages, and Jackson officials hope to continue working with the library district on a new building, Hawke said.
The township and library officials have discussed surveying residents to get a sense of what they want the library to do.
Hawke said he has heard from residents who want a new building, as well as from people who like the Nobles Pond location because it's convenient to other businesses.
"We have to get a real sense of what they (residents) want," Hawke said.
Township officials started hearing demands for a new building last month during the annual Jackson Community Celebration. The event was at North Park, and crews were demolishing the old library building. Residents have complained about a lack of meeting space and that the book collection is smaller.
Wilson agreed that the library district needs to listen to residents, gather feedback and make the best decision. She noted that while the collection in the Nobles Pond location is smaller, it is getting used more than the collection maintained at the old location.
The Nobles Pond branch also is serving as a test site for different ideas, Wilson said. Because the branch is smaller, the library is using nearby locations for different programs, which offers mobility, she said.
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