Estimated Timeline for Construction of the New Regional Library
May 2016: Approval of Waller, Todd, and Sadler Architects Preliminary Concept Design
March 8, 2017: Request for Proposals advertised on March 8 and closed March 28, 2017 (Five proposals received)
October to November 2017: Architect and Engineering Selection for Final Design. Decision on Asbestos Abatement prior to Final Design.
December 2017 to January 2018: Final Architectural & Engineering Designs and Reviews
February to March 2018: Construction Documents
March to May 2018: Closings, Permits
May to July 2018: Bid & Award
August 2018: Groundbreaking
August 2018 to May 2019: Construction (10 months)
June 2019: Occupancy
Location of the Regional Library
The ESPL Trustees held public meetings in Accomac, Cape Charles, Nassawadox and Chincoteague seeking citizen input on library needs in the community. They explored many options for a regional library, including expansion of the existing location and purchase and renovation of existing buildings, none of which were feasible or affordable. In 2011, ESPL received a donation of land in Onley, which was conditioned on substantial completion of the library within 5 years. ESPL hired an architect, who prepared plans for the library on the Onley site. Unfortunately, no government funding was allocated soon enough to satisfy the construction deadline, and the Onley property reverted to the donor.
Once again, the Trustees considered all available options for a regional library. They explored the possibility of purchasing land adjacent to the existing Accomac facility, and had basic schematic plans prepared to determine whether an expanded library was feasible. The cost of purchasing the land, potential sewer and drainage problems, and the cost of construction posed problems, but the primary problem was that the library would need to be closed for up to a year during the construction.
The Town of Parksley then stepped forward, suggesting that the empty, blighted grocery store in town could provide a new home for the regional library. Parksley recognizes how a public library improves property values and the quality of life for its citizens. Parksley is working to transform itself through technology, heritage tourism, and economic development; it sees the library as an anchor in its downtown revitalization project. Parksley offers public water and sewage systems, eliminating two major concerns of the Accomac property, and has ample high broadband connectivity. The planned location is next door to a Dollar General store and is near landmark downtown stores and eateries.
Parksley is a highly “walkable” town, and patrons will be able to walk to the library as well as the Eastern Shore Railway Museum, Metompkin Elementary School and a park. The major highway, Route 13, is nearby, and Route 316 passes through Parksley, connecting Onancock, Tasley, and Onley to Bloxom, Nelsonia and Hallwood.
After numerous meetings and public discussions with patrons, staff, government officials and other stakeholders, the ESPL Trustees (consisting of appointees from the Accomack and Northampton Boards of Supervisors) determined that the Parksley location was the most cost effective and practical option. After visiting other libraries which had been renovated and expanded, they decided that the grocery store building, with an addition and new parking and landscaping, would provide the best site option for the regional library.
ESPL’s goal to transform its image as a center for learning, history and community activities will be strengthened by relocating to a new facility and a new location. The library will be one destination among many, and will be part of a revitalized community that will make the Shore proud.