POCOMOKE – Library officials are reevaluating options for the Pocomoke branch after learning a grant tied to plans for a facility at the old armory location was not received.
During the summer, the City of Pocomoke shared plans for demolition of the long-vacant armory building to provide space for a new Pocomoke branch of the Worcester County library. When strategic demolition grant awards were announced by the state in early December, however, the City of Pocomoke was not among the recipients.
“We know not every request will be funded,” said Worcester County Commissioner Josh Nordstrom, who represents the Pocomoke area. “We certainly wish Pocomoke would have been included.”
In August, Pocomoke City Manager Jeremy Mason presented plans for the demolition of the old armory building as well as an adjacent condemned building. He said municipal officials hoped to see a see a new library on the city block encompassed by Second Street, Clarke Avenue, Maple Street and Willow Street. Though there were at one time plans to turn the armory into a youth center, Mason said this summer the building was too far gone.
“It’s boarded up,” he said at the time. “There’s glass, bricks falling onto the street at any given time. It’s been broken into more times than anybody really knows. It’s a cool building. It’s got a lot of history, but it was just abandoned completely. There’s the gymnasium, the ceiling’s falling in, the windows are busted, those are asbestos tiles on the floor.”
With the news that the city did not receive the grant, Worcester County Library Director Jennifer Ranck said the library board would be discussing the issue in January.
“Moving forward the library will need to evaluate all options and work with the county commissioners to determine the best location,” she said. “The library would like to apply for a FY24 state capital grant to help offset the cost of construction, finalizing the site is a crucial step in that process. The branch is over 51 years old and a major renovation or replacement branch is critical to meeting the needs of the community, now and in the future.”