Plans for Old Dover Library Draw Some Pushback - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Plans for Old Dover Library Draw Some Pushback

Posted: 09/13/2017 19:31:00 -04:00 Updated:

DOVER, Del.- A plan for Wesley College to acquire the old Dover Library building has drawn some criticism from some people in Dover who believe the property could have been used to help deal with issues like homelessness in the city.

The Dover City Council recently approved the sale of the property to Wesley for $1, essentially in exchange for more than $1 million in transportation funding pledged by state lawmakers.

Leaders at Wesley College have said their plans call for the conversion of the old library into a building for its health sciences and STEM studies. The college will bear the brunt of renovating the decades-old building, which could cost millions of dollars.

But some advocates for the homeless in Dover, like Tracey Pridgen with the Nehemiah Project Forever Increasing Dreams, have spoken out against the deal, saying the city could have used the building as a shelter.

"I think it might have been better used for the homeless population. Right now so many people are sleeping on the streets," she said.

Research conducted by a blue-ribbon commission indicated there could be as many as 400 homeless individuals in the Dover area. A city task force is examining ways to try and address the issue.

Dover Councilman David Anderson said using the old library as a homeless shelter was considered but Wesley's plan - and the promise of transportation money from the state - ultimately won out.

"There was no formal proposal that was brought to us. The idea was brought to us but the only formal proposal was the Wesley proposal," he said.

The property had been valued at more than $1 million. State Sen. Colin Bonini , R-Dover South, one of the lawmakers pledging Community Transportation Fund money to the city, said $500,000 would be transferred from his FY 2018 CTF money. Contributions of $125,000 would come from CTF allocations in the following fiscal years.

Rep. Sean Lynn, D-Dover, pledged the remainder of the $1.05 million heading to the city for the transaction.

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