Library board approves North Branch location

Christina Smith

After an hour in executive session and a break to contact members of the Peoria City Council and property owners, Peoria Public Library Board of Trustees president Mike McKenzie said a unanimous decision for a North Branch location was made.

Board member Dr. Frank Gold read a resolution stating the board’s recommendation for the site is a 6.12 acre section of land within Medina Plains Corporate Park, located northwest of the new Menard’s location off Townline Road.

Gold said the purchase price for the property is $1.1 million, with an estimated value of $1.5 million.

“The $398,629 difference in price is a donation from the owner, Medina Plains LLC, to the library,” Gold said.

Besides the donation to the library on the cost of the property, Gold said the owner plans to donate 12.5 cents per square foot when five lots within the park are sold.

McKenzie said the owner made the offer because he wanted to contribute to the health of the library.

Gold said board decided at least 5 acres was needed for a North Branch.

With the additional property, Gold said the site will have a buffer zone at the end of the property that could be used for landscaping around the facility.

Board members also considered the former Festival Foods store in North Point Shopping Center and a site at Sud Plaza Subdivision.

“It was a difficult decision because there are a number of good spots up there and all of the owners made us a good offer,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said construction on the North Branch is not expected to start until spring of 2009.

“We have to make a request for qualified architects, develop plans for the facility and then bid out construction for the project,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the North Branch will be about 30,000 to 35,000 square feet, which would make it larger than Lakeview and second in size only to the downtown branch.

Trisha Noack, supervisor of public relations for the Peoria Public Library, said it could take until the end of the year for the board to hire an architect for the project.

“I do know that we expect it to take about three to four years for all of the work on all of the branches,” Noack said.

So far, Noack said only the Outreach program has been discussed as a program that could move from the library’s downtown location to the North Branch.

Read more on this story in the July 9 edition of the Peoria Times-Observer.