Some have their eye on old Silver Spring library building -- Gazette.Net


As construction of the new library in Silver Spring continues, the fate of the current library building is already getting some attention.

On Monday, Greg Ossont, deputy director of the Montgomery County Department of General Services, spoke at the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board meeting about the disposition process for the former Silver Spring library building on Colesville Road, which is open until the new facility opens to the public in fall of 2014.

Ossont explained that county agencies, nonprofit groups and other parties have shown interest in the building.

The old library was built in 1957 and has about 16,000 square feet.

“We won’t move folks for at least another year. We have plenty of time to determine its next use,” said Ossont.

In the meeting Ossont said before talks of having outside groups use the former library building begin, officials must determine if another county agency needs it, or if it can be reused for other county purposes. Officials also must make sure the location is not part of a master plan requirement or is not needed for any capital improvement project.

Last year, Ossont said, the County Council passed legislation that created a more transparent way for county officials to do business as it relates to properties.

Prior to any licences, leases or disposals of county properties or county buildings facilities, the Department of General Services must first seek comments from the County Council and comments on the proposed deal, whether it is selling, buying or leasing a county property.

“So whenever we lease a facility to a nonprofit group or anytime that you want to do a redevelopment project on a county property ... we must first go to the County Council and provide material terms and allow them to comment on our deal terms,” Ossont said.

The same process is also required if the agency proposes the selling of any county property for less than market value.

“If we are going to sell the property for less than market value we must get explicit approval from the County Council. [The] county executive would declare the land surplus from an executive order and that executive order must be approved by a resolution from the County Council,” Ossont added.

The new library at the corner of Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue has about 63,000 square feet planned, and is being funded by county funds and state grants with a total cost of $69.5 million, including the land purchase, utility relocation, building construction, furniture, new books and permit costs, according to the project’s website.