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Published: Thursday, 10/12/2006

Library's house in better shape than thought

BOWLING GREEN - A committee studying possible uses and potential costs of renovating the red brick house just west of the Wood County District Public Library said yesterday the house is in better shape than expected, but the cost of converting it into apartments and meeting space is still unknown.

A home inspection conducted on the house at 305 North Church St. pointed out problems with leaky pipes, cracked ceilings, tuckpointing needs, old and inoperable windows, and aging electrical and heating systems.

But Trustee Brian Paskvan said the inspection showed the house to be structurally sound, and the committee examining the house now plans to get proposals and estimates from architects to convert the second floor and ground-level basement floor into apartments.

The committee envisions using the first floor for public meeting space and is trying to find out what would be required in terms of handicapped-accessibility and sprinkler systems, he said.

Trustee Nick Ezzone said the library board "wouldn't have to do this all at once. If we got the apartments in place, then a lot of those other items could be done gradually."

He said he still wants to know how much income the property would generate and what renovation and ongoing maintenance would cost before he decides whether the library should keep the house.

The library bought the house in 2005 for $250,000 to use its side yard for a parking lot it is building next door.

The board planned to sell it, but the library recently received a $150,000 donation from Robert and Patricia Maurer in memory of Mr. Maurer's late aunt, Martha Carter. The gift came with the request that the money be used to remodel the house for library purposes.

Trustees also adopted a new policy that requires individuals who circulate petitions on library property to notify a library staff member of their presence on the grounds, to circulate their petition outside the library at least 10 feet from any public entrance, and to not block entrances or occupy parking spaces.

Library Director Elaine Paulette said the library needed such a policy "so patrons aren't harassed when they come into the library. We've had some difficulties with that in the past."

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