Wesley College in Line to Get More than $2 Million to Repurpose - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wesley College in Line to Get More than $2 Million to Repurpose Old Dover Library

Posted: Jun 25, 2018 5:40 PM Updated:

DOVER, Del.- Wesley College's efforts to repurpose Dover's former library for a clinic and its occupational therapy and nursing programs are in line to get a big lift from private and public funding --- more than $2.4 million overall.

As part of the state's proposed capital spending plan for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, Wesley is set to receive $1.4 million to help with renovations at the former library. The private college has also been awarded a $1 million grant from the Longwood Foundation to assist with those efforts, which also include relocating the school's occupational therapy clinic for uninsured and underinsured clients to the former library.

"This is an investment in our community and our future, and we are grateful and appreciative for all our public and private partners that share in this vision and commitment," said Wesley College President Robert Clark.

The former library was purchased by Wesley in 2017 for $1 in a deal that was predicated on a pledge from state Rep. Sean Lynn (D-Dover) and Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South) to send Dover more than $1 million in transportation funding over the course of a few years.

The deal was intended to offset the cost of not selling the library for its estimated value of more than $1 million.

Bonini, a Wesley alumnus and Bond Bill committee member, petitioned the panel to include the $1.4 million allocation in this year's capital investments to because he believes it will spur economic development --- a stark contrast to an empty building.

"The college is the one taking it off city tax rolls and they're the ones taking the burden to renovate it," he said, noting that the public money was intended for job creation at higher education organizations in Delaware.

Lawmakers are expected to give final approval on the capital spending plan later this week. 

Dover resident Fran Riddle, who lives a block away from the old library, said she's pleased to see support for Wesley's re-purposing of the building.

"I think it's a good situation for both the college and the community," she said.

But Will Garfinkel of Dover said he's concerned about the allocation of taxpayer money, especially given the price Wesley itself paid for the library.

"If they turn it into what they want to turn it into, I don't know if it's going to be an economic driver or not," he said. "Who knows?"

 

 

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