Library could build new facility at sports complex

By Lynn R. Parks

The city of Seaford is considering the sale of 4.24 acres of land in its sports complex to the Seaford District Library. The land, which in the complex’s original plan was designated for one of four planned softball fields, would be used for construction of a new library. “The fit is right,” said city manager Dolores Slatcher. “Reading is a form of recreation,” the designated purpose of the 35 acres of land in the city sports complex. The new library would be near several schools, the Boys and Girls Club, the city pool and soccer fields and the Jays Nest playground. Access would be off Pine Street Extended. The library would pay about $127,000 for the property. That money would go toward the city’s required 60-percent match for a $170,000 state grant for construction of ball fields, and toward the 50-percent match required for a second $80,000 state grant. The additional money required for the matches will come from the value of the land that will be used for the ball field and from in-kind support for ball field construction provided by the city. The first ball field in the complex, completed last year, cost $350,000. Lights for the field were an additional $40,000. Parking lots currently under construction will cost about $139,000. The city council will vote on the proposal at its April 8 meeting. If it is approved, Slatcher anticipates that settlement on the property would be by mid-July. Construction on the new ball field could start in August. “This is a win-win situation,” Slatcher said. “It provides us the money for our match for the state grants. “And it provides the library with the land that it needs.” The library’s board has been searching for property for a new facility for about three years. The current 9,000-square foot facility on Porter Street is too small, board members say, and is not able to accommodate an adequate number of computers. It also has structural problems, board member Rose Adams said. Its roof leaks and there are several cracks in the walls. In 2002, the library was awarded a $388,000 state grant for construction. It got an additional grant in 2003 of $514,000. Both grants require a 50-percent match of local funds. The library has actually received a $25,000 planning grant, awarded in 2001. That grant too must be matched, but only after the project is complete. Adams said that the board hopes to be able to submit a request for funding in 2005 by the August 2003 deadline. Final cost of the library will depend on its design, something the board will start work on as soon as purchase of the property is finalized. A consultant hired by the board recommended that the new facility be at least 15,000 square feet. “Personally, I would like to look at least 10 years in the future and have it 20,000 to 25,000 square feet,” Adams said. Adams said that the construction timeline will depend on support by the community and on grants the board is able to receive. “With the economy the way it is, we can’t tell how fund-raising will go for sure,” she said. The current facility will probably be sold, she added.

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