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Council tables library expansion

January 14, 1998

Council tables library expansion

BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -About 30 supporters and critics of a $500,000 plan to expand the Shepherdstown Library turned out Tuesday for a meeting of the Shepherdstown Town Council, expecting a decision on the project.

Instead, the council tabled the issue until a series of public meetings can be held.

Mayor Vince Parmesano said earlier Tuesday he wanted the issue tabled because of letters both supporting and opposing the plan.

He said alternatives ranging from doing nothing to building a new library outside of town surfaced at a Dec. 18 public meeting and from letters he has received. He said more study is needed.

He said a decision Tuesday would have been premature.

"We can best approach this by setting up a working group to review the plan and set up special meetings," he said.

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Parmesano promised not to "drag it out."

The current plan, developed by a private architect, calls for spending $500,000 to add 2,700 square feet in the rear of the building.

To get that much space, the library proposes digging up South King Street behind and beside the nearly 200-year--old building and going underground.

The new addition would be 15 feet below ground level with traffic driving over it.

The library board has been working on the plan for more than three years.

Tuesday's vote by the council would have given the library board a 25-year lease on the building.

Thomas Martin, president of Friends of the Shepherdstown Library, an advocacy group and supporter of the construction plan, said he knew going into Tuesday's meeting that Parmesano would ask to table the vote.

"It doesn't make sense to go right into it," Martin said. "I feel that the library board has come up with a good plan. I hope the library can stay in town, but this delay will give the town a chance to step back and consider new positions."

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