March  25,  2011

Commonwealth greatly expands
size of its library land donation

Commonwealth Group has significantly upped the ante with regard to the amount of property it intends to donate to be the site of a branch public library in the Darley Green development in Claymont.

Instead of giving slightly more than an acre of land in the commercial section just off Philadelphia Pike, the developer will give 7.5 acres fronting on Darley Road at the northwest corner of the mixed-use community. The stand-alone structure will be built on a semicircular tract across the road from Woodshaven-Kruse Park. The switch removes the three main objections to the original plan -- cramped space, a location well  inside the new community and the need to build a below-ground garage to provide off-street parking. In a press statement issued on Mar. 24 confirming selection of a Darley Green location, County Executive Paul Clark called the location more suitable. "It may have taken a while to come to an agreement ... but it was worth the wait," he said.

On the approved development plan the library tract was designated as open space to include the community's stormwater management area. Marcus Henry, general manager of the Department of Community Services, said county government will assume that responsibility, but only as it applies to the library tract. He would say only that "an arrangement will be worked out" to manage water runoff from the rest of the 67-acre community. County Councilman John Cartier, who represents the area, told the Claymont Design Review Advisory Council that having settled the question of where to put the library makes "this a great day for Claymont." He said that residents must now "come together and focus on" raising the $750,000 community share of the $9 million project's cost.

The press statement said construction of the 17,000-square-foot library is intended to begin during the coming summer with its opening expected in autumn, 2012. It will replace the smaller facility housed in the Claymont Community Center building.

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Read previous Delaforum article: Darley Green picked as site for the new Claymont library

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