Worcester Asks To Retain State Library Funding

Worcester Asks To Retain State Library Funding
Worcester County Chief Administrative Officer Weston Young is pictured speaking to the Maryland Board of Public Works on June 21. Photo courtesy of Maryland GovPics

SNOW HILL – Worcester County officials are hoping to retain state funding for a new Pocomoke library despite the recent location change.

Worcester County representatives asked the Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) last week not to defer the $2.2 million in capital funding dedicated toward the new Pocomoke branch. Weston Young, the county’s chief administrative officer, told the board the funding could be used to begin construction of a new library at the existing library site.

“Pocomoke City is a disadvantaged community,” Young said. “They need a new library, and the commissioners ask you do not delay this project by deferring funding.”

Approval of more than $9 million in funding for libraries across the state was among the items on the BPW agenda June 21. Gov. Wes Moore addressed the importance of the institutions that play such a vital role for Maryland’s residents.

“Public libraries, they serve really as the heartbeat of our communities,” Moore said. “They are completely woven into the fabric of our state and the fabric of our society.”

Officials said the library grants included in the $9 million in spending would allow for important updates to and renovations to facilities throughout Maryland. Young said he and Commissioner Chip Bertino were in attendance to ask the board not to defer funding for the Pocomoke branch.

“When we originally started this project, we planned to build the new library where the current, over 50-year-old library is now,” Young said. “After discussions with Pocomoke City leadership, we tried to do a win-win and put it where they have an old armory building.”

The city wasn’t able to obtain demolition funding for the armory, however, and Young said county officials wanted to return to their original plan of building a new library on the site of the existing facility.

“The design of the building perfectly fits on both sites,” he said. “We’re not losing any time in the design of the building. Our design team firmly believes that the funding allocated by the state as well as the county’s match can be adequately dispersed in fiscal year 2024.”

Moore thanked the Worcester officials for attending.

“We look forward to working closely with you to get this project moving,” he said.

Following the meeting, Young said state officials were interested in seeing the project move forward and would be working with Worcester County Library leadership regarding the new branch.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.