FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kennett Library Concludes Exploration of Building Jointly
With Borough of Kennett Square;
Asks to Purchase Nearby Lot for New Library
KENNETT SQUARE, PA – At the Borough Council meeting Monday, July 3, Kennett Library’s President Tom Swett thanked the Borough Council for suggesting the two organizations explore building a joint Borough Hall and Library building in the center of Kennett Square. In the end, the Library decided it would be best served by building independently.
“The exploration process was very thorough,” said Swett. “We all agree a new Library will be a great asset to the Borough – especially if it has an auditorium for public gatherings. There is a lot of agreement on that. But after doing our due diligence and doing the arithmetic, we believe the Library is better off moving forward on its own.”
The Library vice-president, Jeff Yetter, agreed. “Kennett Library is united in its commitment to building a new library in downtown Kennett,” said Yetter. “That’s why we explored a joint venture with the Borough, and I’m glad we did. We are very grateful to Borough Council for the opportunity to explore the possibility of a joint building.
“We involved our library architects, our visioning team, fund raising counsel, library users, and officials from the regional municipalities that we serve,” Yetter explained. “We also talked widely with local leaders to get input. As the process unfolded, we slowly came to the same conclusion: while the Borough and the Library sharing the same building seemed sensible, the reality is that our two entities have very different requirements. Trying to accommodate those different requirements in one building would probably mean neither of us would end up with a facility that is optimal.”
Tom Swett provided an example. “Projections indicate a new library could bring in a quarter million visitors a year. We are already halfway to that number. That many people requires significant design differences from what the Borough might need – parking, accessibility, meeting areas, storage space and on and on. Even if you divide it up expertly, someone will end up paying more than their fair share.”
Jeff Yetter agreed. “In place of building jointly, we are asking the Borough to sell us what is known as the Weinstein lot about a block east of the Library’s present location. The lot is located at the intersection of East State Street and Willow Street just up the hill from the YMCA, is about one-half acre in size, and is now a borough parking lot,” Yetter said. “The Borough Council has discussed selling the lot to the Library in the past and is working now on researching a fair price.”
Tom Swett reiterated his thanks to the Borough Council and said he hopes that an affordable offer to buy the Weinstein lot can be assembled within a few weeks and presented to the Kennett Library board for consideration.
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