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Future Growth

Plans on hold to acquire land
for new North Oldham library

Officials concerned
about size of parcel to be donated

By Helen McKinney
Contributing Writer

GOSHEN, Ky. (March 2012) – Oldham County Public Library Executive Director Susan Eubank says Goshen area residents have wanted a larger, more convenient library for years. North Oldham Lions Club members had recently discussed donating six acres to the library, but new obstacles have arisen which may prolong any final decision.

Belknap Park Location

The donated land, which has now been cut down to three acres instead of six, would be acreage from Belknap Community Park, located on U.S. Hwy. 42 near Ky. 1793. The North Oldham Lions Club has also voiced its desire to donate 18 acres of this land to Oldham County Parks and Recreation.
Presently, any plans for a new library branch in Goshen are on hold, said Eubank. According to what a library supporter and Lions Club member has told her, “A group of the Lions have decided that the library will only get three acres instead of six,” she said.
This news is discouraging for Eubank because less acreage would mean a smaller library would have to be built. In turn, there would also be less parking and this could possibly cut down on the number of activities offered at this branch.
It is our intent to donate land to the library, said North Oldham Lion’s Club President Carol Hublar. “We’re still in negotiations, and we’re very optimistic. We want to get this done as quickly as possible.”
For now, Eubank is just waiting until the Lion’s Club makes a final decision. “The library is not trying to cause trouble,” she said. “We just want Lion’s Club members to understand how much the citizens in the area are looking forward to a new, larger library.”
A Friends of the Library group has started a “grassroots effort in the area to write to the Lions Club and tell the members how much a new library is needed,” she said. A letter was posted on Facebook and Twitter by the Friends group to spread the word about how badly a new library is needed.
Eubank said, “We assumed the original property deal that was accepted by (Oldham County) Fiscal Court and the Board of Trustees for the library, once that was done, that was it.”
As a result, she said the library has already spent $7,000 getting the land surveyed and a topographical map drawn up.
The Oldham County Public Library has maintained a branch at the Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve for the last 28 years. The library leases space on the grounds of the nature preserve in what is a renovated dairy barn dating to the late 1800s.
The anticipated new library would consist of a 15,000-square-foot facility and cost between $4.8 million and $5.2 million. If the land donation is cut to three acres, the facility would probably shrink to 12,000 square feet and an anticipated cost of $3.5 million.
In addition to land donation to the public library, Lion’s Club officials have said last year that it would donate 18 acres to the county park system. Magistrate Bob Leslie said that would be “good for all parties. There is nothing on the north side of the county like this.”
While the Lion’s Club could continue to use the buildings on site, “the burden of taking care of the property would be taken away. Members could then go back to their original mission of helping individuals with visual impairments,” Leslie said. The Lion’s Club, a member of Lions International, supports the National Lions Eye Foundation.
The county is also waiting for a transfer of ownership to take control and begin repairs on the 18 acres it would maintain. The deal is still pending, said Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegle. “We’re ready to move forward and accept the property and agree on terms of ownership, but there are still some issues that are unresolved within the club.”
Contingent upon the deal going through, the first step would be to hire a professional parks planner, said Leslie. Plans call for the park to remain a passive park because that is what the Lion’s Club wants, he said.
The park’s name will change from Belknap Community Park to something that will recognize the Lion’s Club and the original land owner, William Belknap, he said. Belknap was the first person in the state to begin the idea of a book mobile.
“At this time, we aren’t looking to acquire any more land for Oldham County Parks and Recreation,” Leslie said. “But it’s always a possibility in the future.”

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