December 7, 2001

New Castle County and the state will back up the fund-raising effort about to be conducted among the general public by increasing there financial commitment to the Northern Regional Library now under construction in Talley-Day Park by about $1.5 million. The public is being asked to put up about $1 million in individual contributions.

Ann Hampton, an official in the county's Department of Community Services, disclosed at a media event officially launching the public solicitation that the estimated cost of the facility has escalated to $11.6 million. It was pegged at $10.1 million through most of the library's long gestation period.

She later told Delaforum that the additional amount that will be needed is the result of cost inflation that has occurred in the construction industry since the original plans for the library were drawn.

County spokesman Tom Hubbard said that the state is expected to kick in $800,000 of the additional cost and the county $700,000.

Both amounts will be included in capital-spending budgets to be submitted to the General Assembly and New Castle County Council by Governor Ruth Ann Minner and County Executive Tom Gordon, respectively. They will bring the total state contribution to $4.8 million and the  county's to $3.7 million. The county will later pay to staff and operate the library after it opens in 2003.

Hubbard said that Gordon is sticking by a commitment to keep private-sector participation at $3.1 million.

To raise most of the remaining third of that amount, members of the public are being asked to buy 7,000 commemorative bricks, at $100 apiece, , and pay for 10 columns, at $20,000 each. Slightly more

Participants at a media event to launch public fund raising for the Northern Regional Library tour the construction site in Talley-Day Park. Steel is now being erected and the structure is expected to be under roof by January. Below is an artists conception of what the 'Colonnade of Freedoms' will look like. The actual walkway will have 10 columns commemorating the Bill of Rights.

than $2 million already has been raised from or pledged by foundations and additional money will be sought from that source, according to Jim Conrad, chairman of the fund-raising committee of the Friends of Concord Pike Library.

The bricks will be become the floor of an outdoor 'Colonnade of Freedoms' along the northern wall of the main building between the entranceway separating it from a community wing  and an amphitheater and children's play area. It will be flanked by the main building's two-story windows. The path will be 140 feet long and 13 feet wide; the columns will be 36 inches in diameter and 20 feet tall. Each will stand for one of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which collective are known as the Bill of Rights.

Sale of the bricks will be promoted by a caricature to be known as 'Brick Boy' developed for the campaign by Shipley Associates, an advertising and public relations firm.

At the event, Conrad and Hampton both noted that the library is the culmination of a decade-long effort to replace the outmoded and undersize Concord Pike Library in Talleyville with a regional facility that will be both the local library for Brandywine Hundred and a service library for the rest of the county system.

"It's exciting to see a plan which had so much hope actually come to fruition," Hampton said, referring to a 20-year master plan for library construction published in 1991 and calling for accomplishing that through public-private partnerships.

Tom Weaver, manager of both the Concord Pike and the Claymont libraries, said that the new one will not become outmoded any time in the foreseeable future. "It will have the flexibility that we do not now have in our confined area. It is designed to grow as technology does without having to tear up the floors and walls," he said.

Architect Jim Nelson said that the large mounds now facing Foulk Road at the construction site will be sculptured to provide a berm barrier to shield the library parking lot. They will end up considerably lower than the present ones, which temporarily are being used to store topsoil.

Foulk Manor North retirement and nursing home will be separated from the library property by landscaping along the existing driveway which leads to the house, formerly owned by a now deceased member of the Talley family, which will be preserved.

2001. All rights reserved.

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