Mayor Dave Corkum, left, provides all in attendance with an update on the Kentville Library relocation project during a May 25 town council meeting.
KENTVILLE – Things are looking up for the public library.
In an effort to clear the air around the library relocation project, Mayor Dave Corkum provided the audience seated in the gallery for Kentville’s town council meeting May 25 with some new details about the site that could potentially become the home of the Kentville Library.
Council reviewed two letters from citizens asking their elected officials to consider moving the library into the United Church of St. Paul and St. Stephen on Main Street prior to Corkum’s library update.
Proposals were submitted earlier this year and council’s top pick is a new building on a River Street location, Corkum said. Information gathered by the former Friends of the Kentville Public Library group helped council in the site selection process.
“We picked one above the church and, in fact, it is a brand new building which would be on that River Street site,” the mayor said.
Corkum stressed that the efforts to find a new space for the library have been continuous, but council is limited in what details can be released to the public when negotiations are underway.
The issue is more pressing now, however, with the looming Cornwallis River bridge replacement requiring that the current branch be vacated. As of the funding announcement in March, it was anticipated construction crews could start working on the new bridge by as early as 2016.
The town is reaching out to the Municipality of the County of Kings for funding support for the new library.
“We’re looking at doubling the size of space that’s being used by the library… that is way more than doubling our costs,” said Corkum, who noted that the town pays about $30,000 annually for the existing branch.
The final design – how big and beautiful the end product will be – depends on how much cash comes in, Corkum said.
Corkum indicated that he has had positive discussions about the project with representatives of the municipality, and he suspects the topic will be tabled at a Kings County committee of the whole meeting June 16.
“This eventually will be a good news story. How good? We need the county – it’s as simple as that,” said Corkum, who added that the library has the potential to be LEED certified if enough money comes in.
Kentville’s council has a number of options to consider if the funding secured is not enough to cover the River Street location, including the church on Main Street.
“If that falls through then… the church could be our next move and we’d be very satisfied to go in that direction,” said Corkum.
Coun. Tony Bentley informed his colleagues that the library has 2,798 members from Kentville, 2,492 from the county and 281 outside users.
“It’s the top library in Kings County,” said Bentley.
The Kentville branch, Bentley continued, had 49,923 visits in the last year.
“Those are great stats, so this organization definitely deserves a new library without any doubt whatsoever,” Bentley concluded.
“Nobody has to be sold on that,” Corkum responded. “Council has already agreed to provide a new library.”
Corkum said he is optimistic those involved with the library project are closer to seeing their end goal realized.
“The ball has never really dropped. It has been high priority.”