New East Wicomico Library Branch Site Eyed

SALISBURY – County officials this week voted unanimously to fund the purchase of a Parsonsburg property for the relocation of a library branch.

On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Council voted to amend the fiscal year 2023 budget and fiscal years 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to approve funding for the relocation of the current Pittsville branch. Officials say the funding transfer will allow the Wicomico Public Library to purchase a 2,670-square-foot commercial facility in Parsonsburg, which will be converted to a new branch location.

“I want to commend the library board and the director for the work they’ve done …,” said Councilman Joe Holloway. “I know they’ve been looking for property on the east side, and I think this is a good choice and I hope it works out. People on the east side have been looking for expanded library services for a long time.”

Since 1999, Wicomico Public Library’s Pittsville branch has operated from a 1,200-square-foot double-wide trailer located in front of Pittsville Elementary and Middle School. Earlier this year, however, the county council voted unanimously to adopt a CIP that included $37,500 in fiscal year 2023 and $375,000 in fiscal year 2024 for a new library.

In his request to the county council this week, Library Executive Director Seth Hershberger asked for the $375,000 to be placed in the current year’s budget.

“The library hereby requests an amendment of this year’s capital budget to provide now the $375,000 planned for FY2024, in addition to the approved $37,500 for feasibility studies and renovation design in FY2023 for the same project …,” his memo reads. “The cost of the identified property and amount we would offer for its purchase is $395,000.”

Hershberger noted that the property under consideration was located at 7341 Parsonsburg Road. While the lot featured a 2,670-square-foot building, roughly 970 square feet of it is open, unfinished workspace.

“The facility and land as owned by Wicomico County would be eligible for Maryland State Capital Grant funded projects (unlike leased facilities) such as future renovations and expansions,” he wrote. “Among other improvements to the property, the library would immediately move to locate the Mobile Services Department and the Bookmobile, Mobile Learning

Lab, and Reader Van vehicles to the Parsonsburg Road location as well, providing a permanent solution for their parking.”

On Tuesday, the council voted 6-0, with Councilman Ernie Davis absent, to approve the proposal.

“I’m glad we’re moving forward with this project for the library,” said Council President John Cannon.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.