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Northside Library's Relocation Raises Concerns - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Northside Library's Relocation Raises Concerns

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -

The Northside Library is officially moving to a new location within the next year. It will move from its current home at Albemarle Square Shopping Center to a nearby building on West Rio Road. The move will cost Albemarle County about $11.8 million up front, but it's not the price tag that has some people concerned about the move.

Over time, the county says it will actually make money as a result of the move. Despite that, one community activist thinks the plan is flawed, calling it a double standard.

Neil Williamson of the Free Enterprise Forum says Albemarle supervisors are playing favorites by moving forward with plans for the public library. He says if a private entity had wanted to purchase the property, the county would have issued more requirements to develop it.

Williamson cites a hotel chain that gave up plans to develop the property last year, in light of certain requirements from the county's architectural review board.    

"There is no question that the Northside Library needs to have a replacement. There is a huge financial benefit to this project. The question really is, is this the right place, and is there a double standard for a public building going in this space versus a private entity," said Williamson.  

Williamson also believes the new property will have less pedestrian and bicycle accessibility, but supervisors feel differently.

"That was a business decision made by that particular firm. I don't think it had anything to do with the regulatory requirements," said Supervisor Ken Boyd.

Supervisors say the project is moving forward with full speed and will be completed by October 2014. That's when the library's lease on its current space at Albemarle Square expires.

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