After a year of discussions, officials from Rehoboth Beach and the Rehoboth Beach Public Library appear to have reached an agreement that will keep the library’s presence downtown.
The structure of the Rehoboth Avenue library sits on three 50-foot-wide, 100-foot-long lots. The city gave the lot farthest west to the library with a deed restriction saying that lot would always be used as a library, but if that changed, the city had right of first refusal.
As proposed, that deed restriction would be transferred to the two easterly lots.
The intent has always been to keep a library facility downtown and this option allows the library to do so, said Kay Wheatley, library board president, during a commissioner workshop Feb. 5.
The Rehoboth Beach Public Library has been in downtown Rehoboth Beach since the late 1920s. This time last year, during city budget discussions, library officials announced their intentions to build a new facility outside city limits to address parking issues and to better serve customers in its coverage area, which extends west to Route 24 and south on Route 24 to the Angola area.
The location for the second library is off Warrington Road, on the opposite side of the new roundabout from the Beebe Healthcare Specialty Surgical Hospital.
Library officials have said the eastern lots on Rehoboth Avenue are the best choice for the future because, among other reasons, that’s where the stairs providing access to the second floor are located.
Commissioner Edward Chrzanowski said the proposal makes sense to him. The value of the two easterly lots is higher than the one westerly lot, he said.
Mayor Stan Mills said the change in deed is not a zoning issue, so commissioners can vote on the proposal without holding a public hearing on the matter.
City commissioners are expected to formalize the agreement with a vote during a meeting Friday, Feb. 16.