With the Helen Plum Library planning to move to a custom-built new building at 411 S. Main St. in Lombard later this year, customers are bound to wonder what to do with the existing building.
The two-word answer from any librarian is, “It’s complicated.”
During a library board meeting this week, managing director Claudia Krauspe explained how complicated it would be to sell the existing building in 110 W. Maple St. Krauspe emphasized that the library board is “not looking for a vote or decision at the moment.”
Various hurdles would have to be cleared for the library to be able to sell the property next to Lilacia Park. That’s because of a series of intergovernmental agreements the library made with Lombard Park District and the Village of Lombard in 1977, 1980 and 2007.
The 110 W. Maple St. lot is actually on three lots, with the west parking lot consisting of two separate lots and a single lot for the building. The library lot is bisected between the building and its parking lots with an exclusive north-south access easement connecting Maple Street with Lilacia Park to the north. This easement is granted to the park district in perpetuity.
Also binding on any prospective purchaser of the building is the Park District’s ownership of the air rights at 110 W. Maple St.
“We would have a say in what would happen there,” Lombard Park District executive director Paul Friedrichs said of the northwest corner of Maple Street and Park Avenue.
Lombard Park District also has a “first right” option to acquire the properties to the west prior to a library offer for sale. And if another owner acquires the western lots, the driveway easements will automatically be returned to the Park District so they can access Lilacia Park’s Coach House.
The village has also designated the library site as a ‘conservation’ or ‘recreational’ area, so any interested commercial or private buyers would require a zoning change.
The zoning also affects the library’s parking lots along the east side of Park Avenue near the Elmhurst Memorial Health Center. Since Lombard only zoned it for one government or non-profit owner, access to the parking lot would also need to be renegotiated.
In addition, commuter parking was granted by the village at 25 W. Maple St. for library use. Its future use is also in the stars.
Krauspe said a real estate attorney is necessary to obtain financial valuations of the library’s property and to seek advice on any restrictions associated with it.
“We are currently on hold,” says Friedrichs about the park district’s view of the current library location. “We’ll just have to wait for the Library Council to make some decisions.”