Kennett Library could soon have deal to purchase Weinstein lot
● By Steven Hoffman
If everything goes according to plan, the Kennett Library could soon have an agreement in place to purchase the Weinstein lot from Kennett Square Borough. That would set the stage for a new library to be built on the site, which is bounded by State and Willow streets, at some point in the future.
At Kennett Square Borough Council's meeting on Monday night, council member Geoff Bosley apprised borough residents and his colleagues on council about the most recent developments related to the library project.
Just last month, Kennett Library's board of trustees announced that it was moving forward on building a new library on its own rather than collaborating with the borough on a larger municipal building project that would have included a new borough administration building, a new library, a police station, and an auditorium. The library board also made a request for the borough to sell the Weinstein Lot, which is just one block east of the current library at a reasonable price. Kennett Square Borough officials have been working on meeting that request since then, with the finance committee that Bosley serves on taking the lead. Bosley explained that the borough needed to have an appraisal completed on the Weinstein lot, and it was appraised at $550,000.
After some discussions that borough manager Joe Scalise was involved in, the finance committee concluded that the borough could offer the Weinstein lot to the library for $386,000, which is a figure that would allow the borough to recoup the modest costs that the borough had absorbed when it was working with the library on the plans for the multi-use building.
Selling the Weinstein lot to the library at a reasonable price has benefits for the borough, Bosley said.
“We've been trying to get a library for 20 years,” Bosley said. “We think this is another step.”
The offer to sell the property for $386,000 was received positively by Jeff Yetter, the vice president of the Kennett Library Board who was in attendance at the meeting.
In a brief statement to those in attendance, Yetter thanked the borough on behalf of the library board, noting that the borough was very responsive to its request to sell the Weinstein lot at a reasonable price and in a reasonable amount of time.
Yetter characterized the borough's offer as a fair generous one.
“I am also very pleased to report that our Trustees have enthusiastically received your offer,” Yetter told council. “The Trustees are in the process of reviewing and discussing the offer with counsel and we expect to affirm the offer soon and to schedule a formal vote and sign the agreement at our next Trustees meeting. [Library board president] Tom Swett and our Executive Committee have asked me to very clearly convey our appreciation to each of you for setting a fair and generous price and terms – and equally important, to thank you for your enormous vote of confidence in the future of the Kennett Library.”
The next step is for the agreement-of-sale to be worked on. Borough solicitor Marc Jonas said that he has already prepared a draft of the agreement that will need to be reviewed by borough officials. Negotiations on some of the terms will continue in the coming weeks, but it's possible that borough council and the library board could have an agreement-of-sale in front of them in September.
In a statement released by the library board, Swett said, “The Borough certainly came through for us by providing a reasonable price well below the appraised market value and with favorable terms and a timetable to suit our overall project. We appreciate both their generosity and their moving quickly. Our Trustees are already reviewing the proposal with counsel and preparing to formally accept the Borough’s offer. We’ll have more to say as soon as the arrangements are finalized.”