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ACPL Board of Trustees votes unanimously to move forward with “Facilities Master Plan”

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 11:20 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - A new chapter has begun for the Allen County Public Library.

Another special meeting was held Thursday and now the library’s master plan moves into the next phase.

“Any community without a library is missing a tremendous treasure. Our public library has been a treasure for 70-80 years. We’re excited about the next 30,” ACPL Board of Trustees President Ben Eisbart said.

ACPL has 14 branches right now but there is talk of adding another library which would be built in Huntertown. The plan has 54,000 additional square feet that could be added to other branches.This will cost between 112 to 118 million dollars and board members say this project would take seven to eight years and take place in three phases.

“We have over 21 million dollars in reserve that we can apply for, which means this is money that we don’t have to borrow, we already have it,” Eisbart said.

The major change in that plan, the Shawnee Branch. That plan now includes a proposal to rebuild the branch at a new location. The original plan called for the building to be sold and not rebuilt.

“We spent months going through those initial recommendations getting feedback, asking what are your questions? What are your main concerns and this report really reflects that we listened. We didn’t just listen, we implemented and changed the plan based on those concerns,” ACPL Director of Communications Stephanny Smith said.

She told Fort Wayne’s NBC News 1,300 comments were reviewed. She along with board members believe this will be a win for the community.

“Whether you’re in Monroeville, Aboite or Eastern Fort Wayne, everyone has equal access to the library and we really think this plan promotes that and furthers it,” Smith said.

Fort Wayne’s NBC News also received a statement from Pamela Martin-Davis the former Shawnee Branch Manager:

“I am so excited for Shawnee’s many library patrons who told the library board on surveys, calls and meetings, how much our library means to us. I am grateful for the board who listened, who heard how important the Shawnee Branch is to the community.”

Two more public hearings will take place April 21 and 28 at 3 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend.

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