OCEAN CITY – The fate of the old 14th Street library building
was sealed this week, as the City Council voted unanimously to approve the
demolition of the building.
The 14th Street library officially
closed its doors last month, as the move was made to the new, expansive 100th Street
building. The 14th Street building served as a proud, but often
cramped home for the library for over 40 years, but with the building vacated
and its functional use declining, the next step is demolition.
Public Works Director
Hal Adkins reported this week that Worcester
County had officially
vacated the building, removing the underground fuel tank that served as the
heating system and relinquishing the building back into the hands of the town.
“It is our desire to now
move forward with the demolition or de-construction. It is our intent to
systematically take the building apart and recycle it,” said Adkins.
Over the next month,
crews will be de-constructing the interior of the building in preparation for
the May 1 demolition. Carpeting, paneling and shelving will all be removed in
an effort to have only a shell to demolish, explained Adkins. The
asbestos-based vinyl tile, which resides beneath the carpet, will be professionally
removed prior to demolition.
According to Adkins, the
long-range intent of the land, since the early 90’s, has been to use the site
for a future desalinization plant. Because the plant is not yet needed, the
site will be used as extra parking in the interim. The parking lot will not be
paved and striped until next year.
“We will leave the
perimeter landscaping and gravel the site for additional parking this summer,”
The parking area will be
a municipal lot, providing extra parking spaces for visitors, residents and for
the adjacent firehouse.
plant is ‘x’ number of years away, if we ever need it at all,” said Councilman
Jay Hancock, questioning whether the demolition was necessary at this point in
time. “It really isn’t a historic structure, its just a functional building
which might have some life left.”
Adkins explained that
while the site will be used as a parking lot in the interim, the current
building is declining functionally.
“On a scale of one to
10, that building might be a four or a five,” he said. “You or anyone else
would have a substantial investment to re-use that building.”
The council voted
unanimously, with Council members Lloyd Martin and Nancy Howard absent, to
approve the de-construction and May 1 demolition of the building.