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Commissioners OK North Beach library site


Prince Frederick, MD - The Calvert County Commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation of the local Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) to have a new library constructed in North Beach. The commissioners’ vote was taken at the panel’s May 15 meeting. Commissioners’ Vice President Tom Hejl [R – At large] abstained since his wife, Sheila, is a retired employee of Calvert Library. The new branch will serve the Twin Beach communities—Chesapeake Beach and North Beach—and is currently estimated to cost nearly $8 million. The Twin Beach branch is currently located in Chesapeake Beach in a leased facility.

“The BOLT greatly appreciated the interest of both towns and the thoughtful presentations provided,” stated the trustees’ board president, Martha Grahame. “Both towns’ proposals met the basic criteria for site selection and each had unique positive aspects. After completing a scoring matrix for both proposals the BOLT determined that the site offered by North Beach provided a highly accessible location that was more compatible with library activities, in a closely integrated cultural, business, residential and civic center.”

According to a Calvert Library press release, North Beach submitted a proposal to library Director Carrie Plymire in November for two lots on the north side of 5th Street between Bay Avenue and Chesapeake Avenue. However, the new location North Beach officials presented as their final submission, and the one BOLT accepted and recommended for approval is the southwest corner of 3rd and Chesapeake Avenue adjacent to the Calvert Health Systems Medical Center.

Grahame stated in her memo to the commissioners that Calvert Library is applying for $2.3 million in State Capital Grant funds for fiscal years 2020 to 2022, “which would render a total fiscal impact of $3.6 million to the county if those grants are approved in full.”

The commissioners were aware of the fierce competition between the two towns for the location of the new library. “It was a hard decision, not only on the commissioners but the library board,” said Commissioner Pat Nutter [R - District 2]. “Both towns would like to have that facility. I think we have to follow the recommendation.”
“You almost wish you could have one for each municipality,” said Commissioner Mike Hart [R - District 1], adding that public libraries are always ideal as a community’s “focal point.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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