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Media-UP Library Project Proceeds Despite Funding Issues

Media Borough Council earmarked funding for the 2013 library renovations, however, Upper Providence Township Council did not.

While the fate of the Media-Upper Providence Library renovations seem uncertain at the moment, Library Board President Fran Shields says the plans are proceeding. for the library renovations in 2013, but Upper Providence Township Council did not approve funding for 2013.

The total cost of the library renovation is estimated at $2.5 million. The library board has asked for $684,000 from Media, $516,000 from Upper Providence and they are applying for a $500,000 Keystone Grant from the state. Private donors have given $100,000 so far to the project.

"I remain cautiously optimistic that the Upper Providence Council will see that the residents of their community are very interested in continuing with the library," Shields said.

The project was set to begin in the spring of 2013, but with the funding obstacles, it has been delayed until spring of 2014.

If Upper Providence again, does not include funding in its 2014 budget, then the situation will be difficult, Shields said. More donations would likely be necessary to raise the portion that would have been funded by Upper Providence.

Shields encouraged Upper Providence residents to show their support for the library and talk to their representatives.

The library sees about 84,000 visitors per year, Shields said. Looking at the number of people who take out books, approximately 43 percent are from Upper Providence and 57 percent from Media. Out of all of the cardholders, who do not necessarily all visit the library, 55 percent are from Upper Providence and the other 45 percent are Media residents. These numbers do not account for cardholders who download electronic books online.

There is a library trust in place involving cash and investments left by Matilda Sprogll to the library. The building was left to the library separately from the trust, and there are no restrictions about where the library can be located, Shields said. It could be moved to Upper Providence, but makes more sense to keep it in Media, he said.

Media Borough

"I personally believe the library is one of the greatest resources we have," Media Borough Councilman Kent Davidson said.

Davidson said Media Borough Council, which did approve library funding for 2013, is interested in working with the Upper Providence Council to help make these renovations possible.

"I’m going to work as hard as I can to make this happen," Davidson said. 

Upper Providence

"The [Upper Providence] Council is fully supportive of the library, but they are limited to what they can do, due to the current economic situation," Upper Providence Township Manager Greg Lebold said.

Lebold went on to say that Upper Providence would like to help with the project and will continue to evaluate as the year progresses. But for now the funding is not possible.

"Our debt service exceeds what we could reasonably pass on to our residents," Lebold said.

Upper Providence Council's decision to not budget for the library project, was in no way impacted by the Third Street Project, he said.

Upper Providence Township Council has previously voiced its concerns with Media Borough Council's vote to make 3rd Street a one-way, one-lane roadway heading in to Media, away from Upper Providence.

Project Overview

The current 100-year-old library is made up of six different structures which are cobbled together, three of which are clearly visible when looking at the site, Shields said.

The three main levels, include the Sprogll building on the corner of Front and Jackson, another house that is now the staff building and a middle section connecting the two buildings.

"People with disabilities can only get to one or two of those sections," Shields said.

There is no feasible way to install ramps and other handicap accessible features in the current structure and the current library is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, Shields said.

The new library would be just two floors, instead of the current six, and would have an elevator.

"We want a public library to be accessible to every community member," Shields said.

The three-phase renovation is estimated to take about six to eight months. The first phase will involve demolishing the Sprogll house and building a new structure. The second phase is to renovate what is now the middle portion of the building and to add a new roof to the structure. The third and final phase is to knock down the staff building and add more parking in its place. The goal of this three-phase plan is to allow the library to remain open while being renovated.

The current library is approximately 9,000 square feet, but only about 6,000 square feet are being used, Shields said.

The second floor of the library is not used, Shields said, because it is not accessible for handicapped patrons and also would need updates to the electricity, heating and air conditioning for basic access.

Having access to the second floor in the renovated library would allow for more programming space for children and adults. It will also have a room for the media archives, which are currently housed in the staff building and require an appointment to access. Once in the new second floor, there will be better security and no need to make appointments.

 

Donations toward the library project can be made through the library website here.

 

 

 


Chickadee December 29, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I am happy to hear that Media Borough has managed their finances in such a way to afford supporting this sensible update to library.
KMC December 29, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Funny how media council wants to work with Upper Providence now....but when UP wanted to work with Media in regards to the third street bridge, UP was told it didn't concern them.
Jim Cunningham December 30, 2012 at 01:11 PM
What incentive is there for Upper Providence to cooperate with Media when Media Council stiffed and ignorned them on the 3rd Street Bridge issue? In fact, Councilmen Davidson and Robinson have actually insulted both residents of Upper providence, Upper Providence Council and the school board. What incentive is there? None. It is indeed unfortunate that the Media-Upper Providence Library is caught in the middle of this matter due to the foolishness and arrogance of Media Borough Council.
Lorraine December 30, 2012 at 08:03 PM
You are so right Mr. Cunningham
Chickadee December 30, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Um...the UP town manager says in the article that the two projects are not connected. It would be the height of immaturity to exact some kind of revenge on Media Council by rejecting the Media/UP library. I would expect better of our elected officials -- and our Media elders such as Mr. Cunningham in supporting such behavior. The incentive, Mr. Cunningham, is supporting an important community resource. Many of us enjoy and use the library and would like to see it serve the community even better.
KMC December 31, 2012 at 01:03 AM
You would expect better of elected officials....but yet the Media council is full of arrogant men who do not know how to play nicely with others. So maybe Mr. Davidson should remember in the future to treat all of his neighbors with respect, and then maybe he will earn some respect. Many of us would like to use the third street bridge but that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon
Jim Cunningham December 31, 2012 at 05:07 AM
So true. For those who choose not to see, I repeat my question. Why should Upper Providence Township engage in any, any joint projects with Media Council when our councilmen treat the township with disdain, and disrespect and ignore its concerns and those of its residents. Arrogance and disrespect towards one's municipal neighbors is not a winning strategy to engage in and carry out successful joint inter-municipal projects.
Kent Davidson January 02, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Let's put the politics aside for a second and clarify the facts: First, the Library is an independent project of Media Borough, it is a project by the Library board. They came to Media Borough and Upper Providence with a request for funding. Media Borough obliged, Upper Providence said they were unable to, mostly due to financial constraints on their side. Second, Upper Providence has expressed a single official request, by resolution 2012-10 on March 22nd, 2012 that Media Borough re-open the 3rd Street dam to vehicular traffic. Media Borough has put forth plans to do so, so this talk of "arrogance" and disrespect of our neighbors is simply politics and lies. Finally, I will repeat that this project is truly for the benefit of all residents of Media and Upper Providence; the library is an invaluable, free community center which deserves support from both governments which are included in the Library's name.

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