Library Trustees Weigh Options for Future of Kingston Branch

The Ross Chillicothe Public Library's Board of Trustees held a community brainstorming session in Kingston Wednesday to generate ideas on the future of the Kingston Branch.

The branch, located at 17 N. Main, is currently being housed in a temporary location due to the building's need for renovation.

Since its construction in the mid-1800s, years of weather damage, termite issues and natural aging have left the structure unfit to house the branch and Wednesday's meeting was meant to help the board best decide on how to move forward.

"It's a very attractive building, but any building that age has a lot of issues," said Library Director, James Hill. "Our biggest concern is because it has an upstairs we are unable to use, it's an unconditioned space. If it's one-hundred degrees outside, it's one-hundred degrees upstairs. If it's zero degrees outside, it's zero degrees upstairs. That has sort of exacerbated the way the building is weathering and aging."

The library is unable to make use of the building's upstairs due the building's lack of an elevator, which is required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. Installing an elevator would simply be too cost prohibitive for the library to pursue.

"I think we need to look at pulling together some feasibility studies to see what's available and how much those options will cost," said Hill. "We don't want to go with the cheapest option obviously but we do want to make sure the money is well-spent."

Suggestions made by members of community on Wednesday included the library moving forward with the necessary renovations, or the library working to acquire a new permanent location elsewhere in the village. Some suggested the former Zane Trace 5th and 6th Grade Building at the Corner of Ing and Church, which is currently under private ownership.

It was clear though, that most in attendance would prefer for the library to make the necessary renovations and remain in its original location at 17 N. Main.

"I think the community really appreciates having a library in Kingston," said Hill. "And that's something we want to continue offering the community, but we need to do it in a way that's safe for everybody and ensures room for growth."

Until the issue is resolved, patrons can make use of the library's temporary Kingston Branch location, at 89 N. Main.

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