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Meade County Public Library purchases land for future growth

Messenger Staff

The Meade County Public Library has entered into an agreement to purchase five acres of land on Old Ekron Road. The parcel is situated across from the Meade County Extension Service and is within walking distance of both Meade County High School and Stuart Pepper Middle School as well as residential areas in Brandenburg.

The land was purchased with an eye toward the future.

“Purchasing the land is a positive step forward for building a new library,” said Rachel Baelz, director of the Meade County Public Library. “The building has served its purpose for many years, but we are outgrowing it. The annex is constantly booked, and we are shuffling materials all the time to make room for everything. With a new library, we’ll be able to offer more programs, services and materials for a growing county.”

The library is a standout in the state in terms of programs and patrons who utilize the facility. But it is woefully behind in terms of the physical plant. With square footage of 9,360 square feet, the library barely meets half of the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives (KDLA) minimum standard of 17,719 for 2010. In 2030, that minimum standard will be 19,714 square feet.

“I’m glad the library has been able to purchase property that will allow them to expand to meet the KDLA minimum facility standards and plan for additional expansions that might be needed in the future,” said state library construction consultant Chris Bischoff, who has advised the board during the land purchase process.

“Although a source for construction funding is still undetermined, securing a good property is an excellent first step,” continued Bischoff. “Should sources of construction grant funding become available, the library will be in a good position to apply.”

The five-acre parcel is to be purchased from Virginia Miller for $195,000. Brandenburg Mayor David Pace was instrumental in bringing the parties together, and local engineer Tim Smith worked with Pace in finding an appropriate site for the library. In addition to the sale of five acres to the library, the Millers have stated their intent to gift 3.7 adjacent acres to the city of Brandenburg.

“It will be a nice setting with almost nine acres for the library and a park,” said Pace, who stated his intention is to clear the underbrush for walking trails and leave as many trees as possible. “I think it will be a nice addition to the city landscape,” said Pace, “and it will be utilized by not only the citizens of Brandenburg, but by the entire community.”

“Part of our mission as a board is to deliver a modern, usable facility,” said Tony Black, vice-president of the library’s board of trustees. “This is the first step in doing that. It was a location we never would have considered attainable. However, when the mayor approached us with the opportunity, we realized it had all the elements we were looking for. It’s a great location with sufficient acreage and an attractive site within walking distance of schools and neighborhoods.”

Black went on to express his appreciation to the Miller family for their vision. “They weren’t going to give this property to just anyone. It is a compliment to the people of our county and honors the mission of the library that they wanted to work with us in making this dream a reality.”

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