The Cooper River Memorial Library, which was originally built and funded by community members to memorialize fallen veterans from North Charleston, is slated to be replace with a new building. This new branch construction is funded by the bond referendum that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2014. The CCPL Board of Trustees has honored this promise to voters by working to get the stand alone library built in a timely manner. However, Charleston County Council has created unnecessary delays which may even threaten to shut down the branch entirely during construction.
All that remains for the original plan to proceed is for County Council to approve the site for the stand alone library. The land in question (across Pinehaven Drive from the current Cooper River Library) has been prepared for construction, is owned by Charleston County, and is large enough for the proposed building. The money to build the library is available through the bond referendum. In addition, construction can be conducted without disrupting the services at the current library. We could have a new library in about a year, based on estimates for other new libraries in the County, but we can’t even start the design until County Council approves the site.
Because of unrelated problems the County is facing in housing its services, including DAODAS, the Council has proposed a multi-purpose building that would also house the new library. In addition, this proposal would cause unnecessary delays while the County attempts to acquire more land to accommodate a larger building, and more importantly, would almost certainly require that the current library be razed before construction begins. This loss of library services in an already under-served community is unacceptable.
The next meeting of Charleston County Council is on August 17th, and all council members need to be reminded them that we voted to fund a new, stand alone library. County Council’s best course of action is to approve the site for a stand alone library and to commit to keeping the branch open during construction.