Among reasons no one has moved into the building are the same ones that helped influence the library to move out. Morgan cites mold problems dating back to leaks around the building, as well as asbestos that would have to be addressed. The building needs electrical, plumbing and accessibility improvements, Morgan said, adding that with such a historic structure, “You don’t want to go putting ramps on the front of that building.”
The city has taken some steps to address the immediate issues. After it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, the library became eligible for Historic Preservation Fund grants. In 2006, the city got a $50,000 grant – which it matched and then some, putting another $70,000 or so into the structure – for exterior work including masonry, window restoration, repairs to the slate roof and generally making the building water-tight, including filling in a leaking coal bunker in back. “We’re keeping it pretty dry now,” Morgan said.
Under Sharon McShurley’s administration, the city had considered marketing the property and giving it to another organization if one proposed a good plan for it, but such a move would have been complicated by its location on a large parcel of city park land, Morgan said. Since Dennis Tyler took office as mayor, that provision has been withdrawn, so the question of how the city might use the space remains.
Brad Bookout of the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance said the city continues to look for grant funds for projects such as further renovation of the old library, but in this case he noted, “If you don’t know what you’re going to do with it, nobody’s going to write you a check.”<< previous 1 2 3 4