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Fort Worth scraps plan for new downtown library location, starts looking elsewhere

The building located at 100 Main Street, across the street from the Tarrant County Courthouse, is no longer slated to be the new home of the Fort Worth Public Library.
Marcheta Fornoff
/
Fort Worth Report
The building located at 100 Main Street, across the street from the Tarrant County Courthouse, is no longer slated to be the new home of the Fort Worth Public Library.

The Fort Worth Public Library is closing the book on a location previously approved for its new downtown branch.

Six weeks after the city approved a lease agreement with Pescador Partners LTD for use of 100 Main St., the library department announced it is no longer negotiating a lease at that location. Despite City Council approval allocating funds for a lease agreement in September, no formal agreements were signed, according to a post publishedon the city’s website.

“While both parties were interested in exploring a lease early on, it became apparent that a long-term agreement would not be mutually beneficial,” Theresa Davis, a spokesperson for the library, said in a statement.

The 10-year lease would have cost the city $2.14 million. The city would have been required to provide security guard services and planned to invest $130,000 in improvements to the space. The city is looking for the best long-term solution, the post states.

The department set aside funds in its annual operating budget for a downtown location; if and when the city enters into a new lease it will have to be approved by City Council, Davis said.

Davis does not have an estimated date for the opening of a new downtown location. The city’s property management and library departments already have viewed other downtown properties available for lease or purchase and are exploring all options, Davis said.

Reed Bilz, who previously advocated for a more robust downtown branch, said she hopes the new branch will have better parking and an auditorium. The proposed location at 100 Main St. lacked both, Bilz said.

The library permanently closed its downtown branch in June. The branch proposed for 100 Main St. would have also been much smaller than the former downtown location, with a total of 8,746 square feet on the main floor and in the basement.

“We are committed to finding the right downtown location,” interim Library Director Marilyn Marvin said in the city’s post. “We want a welcoming location that will be a great environment for downtown residents and visitors for years to come.”

Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at rachel.behrndt@fortworthreport.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.