County Waiting for 'Plan B' for New Library Site - Southern Maryland Headline News

County Waiting for 'Plan B' for New Library Site

By Guy Leonard, The County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. — In the wake of a developer’s overtures to provide a site in Leonardtown’s downtown area for a new library, the Board of County Commissioners is asking town leaders to come up with a plan that might make that option actually happen.

The new library, which would replace the current Leonardtown branch on Hollywood Road, has been slated to go on the 172-acre Hayden Farm property but County Administrator John Savich has said that commissioners are “intrigued” by the possibility of taking land from the Tudor Hall development, owned by Don Pleasants, and placing the library there.

A new access road would have to be built near the proposed Lawrence Avenue location to make the site feasible.

Savich said, however, that the commissioners would need something more concrete than the public statements from Pleasants in The Enterprise newspaper.

“I would say they want to consider the Lawrence Avenue site,” Savich told The County Times Monday. “But they don’t want to assume anything until they have specifics.

“Ultimately I think it means a deed, it means site control.”

Leonardtown Mayor J. Harry Norris said that both lawyers with the town and Pleasants’ business interests were working on a written declaration of just how much land and where he would be willing to donate.

“We do need something more formal from Mr. Pleasants,” Norris told The County Times.

Pleasants did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Library director Kathleen Reif told commissioners Monday at a budget work session that if further delays accompany the selection of a library site they may have to cede back monies that the state has put up for the design and engineering phase of the project to the tune of about $825,000.

The actual project has yet to be designed, Savich said, and the construction is set to take place several years out in fiscal 2015.

The entire cost of the project, which has become a political football over the past two years at least over funding in economically tough times, is set at about $15.9 million.

Commissioner President Francis Jack Russell (D-St. George Island) commented Monday that the relinquishing of state dollars might be a foregone conclusion to gain time to see if the Leonardtown site was feasible.

“If we have to give some money back, so be it we have to give the money back,” Russell said.

Commissioner Lawrence D. Jarboe (RGolden Beach) seemed anxious to see a proposal from the town.

“We need the town to come forward with a Plan B,” Jarboe said.

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