Correction: The print version of this story stated the Zionsville Town Council would consider approving the bonds at the council’s June 21 meeting. The council will consider them at its July 6 meeting.
Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library officials have requested approval from the Zionsville Town Council to issue as much as $9 million in bonds for a planned branch in Whitestown.
In August 2020, the library expanded its service area into Worth Township. The library now plans to build a new branch in Worth Township to further expand services. The Whitestown Town Council donated 11 acres with large greenspace, woods and trails near Walker Farms for the new branch.
Construction is expected to begin in October and to take approximately one year to complete. Library officials want to open the branch in the fourth quarter of 2022.
To pay for the branch, library officials have asked for approval to issue up to $9 million in bonds, which would be used to build the new branch at 6310 Albert S. White Dr. and pay for landscaping and finishes. The town council is expected to consider the request at its July 6 meeting.
A recent survey suggests the new branch would be well-received.
“An overwhelming majority of Eagle, Perry and Union township residents anticipate using this new location in the future,” said Sarah Moore, executive director of the HMMPL. “For the last several months, we have been soliciting feedback from residents. We have also selected an architecture firm. We have a site secured, and now we are currently developing our architecture plans, and we are on to this bond process.”
The library’s existing bond is scheduled to be paid by June 2023. Payments for the requested bonds wouldn’t begin until the library’s existing bond is paid to ease the impact for taxpayers, Moore said. She added that the debt service tax rate to build the branch will not increase from the 2020 current bond repayment rate of $0.159, equating to a less than $20 payment annually for the owner of a $250,000 home.
Moore also said the bonds would not affect the town’s capacity to approve other bonds because the library would be the bond issuer.
In 2019, the library ranked fifth in the state in materials borrowed per capita, according to library officials, and its service area included an estimated population of 37,526 residents, a 47 percent increase since 2010. Because of increased usage, Moore said residents would not necessarily pay less if the bonds were not approved.
“If we were not able to get the bonds issued to do this project, we would still be trying to find ways to expand what we have available to better meet the needs of our service district,” Moore said.
The library serves Eagle, Union and Worth townships. For a fee, it also serves residents in Perry Township, who do not pay into the library’s current bond.
“As long as (the new branch) is open to Zionsville residents and not just Worth Township residents, I think this is a very worthwhile venture,” town council member Alexander Choi said.