Two acres donated for new library

May 23, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - The board of directors of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library system on Tuesday officially accepted a donation of two acres for a branch location off W.Va. 901 and T.J. Jackson Drive in the community of Spring Mills.

"We're just glad to be part of it," said Allen Henry, president of Panhandle Builders & Excavating Inc., the company that offered the parcel.

Growing up in Falling Waters, W.Va., where he still resides, Henry said he has fond memories of going to the northern Berkeley County library when it was off Nestle Quarry Road.

"I can't remember all I was reading when I was a kid," said Henry, who along with David Henry and Carole Henry founded the Martinsburg-based construction and development company in June 1986.


The company's donation came about after library officials determined a previous land donation could not be used.

E.I du Pont de Nemours and Co. in July 2006 donated nine acres to Bedington Volunteer Fire Department. The fire department almost immediately announced its intent to give two acres for a library, but library system Director Pamela K. Coyle told county leaders in March that the land was too expensive for the library to develop.

"We really appreciate du Pont's effort to help us get land. Unfortunately for the library, we couldn't afford to develop it," Coyle said Monday.

Coyle credited library board members, particularly Steve Cox, for launching a successful effort to bring about Henry's donation.

"We need to make sure Allen and the board gets credit for this," Coyle said.

Though not from Berkeley County, Coyle said she was well aware of Henry's "generosity" and noted that he contributed toward the installation of a stoplight at the intersection of W.Va. 901 and U.S. 11.

"He has done a lot for his community," Coyle said.

Henry said stormwater management facilities and an access road already are in place for the land donation, which came about when members of the community approached him earlier this year.

Coyle said a community meeting will be June 7 at 7 p.m. in the library at Potomack Intermediate School to finalize what is wanted in the new branch building so an architect and engineer can proceed with their plans. By that meeting, Coyle expects to receive verification that the land being donated can be built upon, but said she is not too concerned since Henry made the donation.

"We don't have a clue about the naming of it yet," Coyle said.

She said the library system set aside about $90,000 for the branch and still needs to raise additional money for the project.

Now known as the North Berkeley Public Library, the branch is in a small space on the ground floor of the Marlowe Ruritan Club as part of a three-year contract the library system has with the club, Coyle said.

"They've tripled the circulation from last year to this year," Coyle said.

Aside from utility costs and initial renovations, the library has been able to operate from the club's ground floor at virtually no additional expense, said Coyle, who commended the club for its support.

"They're doing the best they can do to support the efforts of the library," Coyle said.

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