Kentville council approves former church property for new Kentville library

Town, county on same page for repurposing Main Street property

John Decoste jdecoste@kingscountynews.ca
Published on January 25, 2016

Kentville's United Church of St. Stephen & St. Paul has a likely buyer.

©Jennifer Hoegg - Kingscountynews.ca

KENTVILLE - Kentville town council has approved the former St. Paul and St. Stephen United Church on Main Street as the site of the new Kentville library.

At its monthly meeting Jan. 25, town council approved "the Parsons Group site on Main Street" as its preferred site for the town's new library, "subject to negotiating a lease agreement satisfactory to both sides."

On Jan. 22, Kings County council approved the former church property as its choice for the new location of the library. Approximately half the users of the facility live outside town limits.

Even though the site has been approved, Mayor Dave Corkum told those in attendance at the meeting, "it's not there yet. We have to make sure we work out a good lease agreement with the Parsons Group."

Speaking after the meeting, Corkum said the town had previously done a study on the best site for the new library.

The study identified "several options. The church was an option, the Cornwallis Inn was an option, but we decided our first priority was a new building," which would have been located on River Street.

In fact, councillors were prepared at the meeting to accept the recommendation of the Whynot Group to construct a new library building on River Street.

However, an amended recommendation to approve the Main Street site was made, and passed by a unanimous vote.

Corkum acknowledged the former church had been "our second choice all along," and the county's recommendation of the site had turned the tide in its favour.

"There's no doubt in my mind the Parsons Group will do a great job of repurposing the space," he said. "All the users of the Kentville library will be the beneficiaries."

He added, "we wanted a final decision that was best for the whole library community. The town couldn't afford to go it on its own, and we're pleased to be able to partner with the county.

"I hope everyone will look at this for what it is - a win-win for everyone involved, and for the whole library community."

"It's been a long time coming, finding a new home for the library," said Frances Schagen, former chair of the Friends of the Kentville Library committee.

The choice, of both town and county, is "in the downtown core, and in a heritage building that is being repurposed," she said. "Thank you."