The topic of creating community space first arose in 2019 after the seniors were displaced from the Activity Center, which is the former library, on Cox Road. Community First, which ran senior programming at the center, decided not to renew its lease, and the township decided to sell the property.
The trustees had a $1.8 million purchase agreement with Regency Centers so a giant Kroger Marketplace could be built, but the deal fell through last summer. It is possibly being resurrected now.
The seniors began meeting at the library that fall but lost their gathering place when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The trustees approached the MidPointe library board about a possible addition earlier this year to create more space for the entire community to use.
The tentative plan is to expand the library’s children’s area and create new space that can be shared by community groups like the seniors and teenagers who use Lakota’s Edge teen centers.
“At this location the families use this library a lot,” MidPointe Executive Director Travis Bautz said. “If you’re ever in the building in summer, the months of June or July, it’s bonkers, it’s like Kings Island bonkers.”
The library has its own tax levy but the township built the library using tax increment financing funds in 2009. The cost was $2.1 million for the land and $12 million for construction. The library has a lease with the township and pays for upkeep and smaller capital projects. Bautz told the Journal-News the system can’t handle a capital project of this magnitude.
“There is no money in capital for an addition to be paid for by us,” Bautz said.
He said two-thirds of the budget, or around $9 million systemwide, comes from the state. The rest comes from the local tax levy. About $2 million is spent running the West Chester branch, and about $600,000 is for salaries and benefits. About $1 million has been used in recent years for upkeep and improvements.
The library offered to pay for the original library architect to do preliminary expansion plans.