Signed agreement provides a new home for beloved Middletown Library
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 21, 2020)–The Louisville Free Public Library's Middletown branch is one step closer to having a new,more permanent home. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Middletown Mayor Byron Chapman, and Library Director Lee Burchfield today announced a lease agreement that will provide a new Middletown-owned site for the library rent-free to Metro Government.
The building is conveniently located on Shelbyville Road across from the Middletown Kroger.
”One of my guiding values when I became Mayor was to help create a city of lifelong learning, and our libraries are critical to providing those learning opportunities,” Mayor Fischer said.“I am deeply appreciative that we were able to come together with the city of Middletown to find a new space for the Middletown Library.”
For several months, officials from Louisville and Middletown, including Mayor Chapman, Mayor Fischer, Library Director Burchfield, and Councilmen Anthony Piagentini, Markus Winkler, and Bill Hollander, have been working on a deal to keep the Middletown Library from closing permanently when the East Government Center —its current location —closes at the end of November. Metro Government’s lease on the East Government Center facility was set to expire this past summer, but an extension was granted until the end of the year. This gave Louisville and Middletown leaders extra time to finalize an agreement.
“People in Middletown are very concerned about our library and I wanted to find it a permanent location. I am pleased all parties involved were able to work together and make the Middletown Library a success” said Mayor Chapman. “I cannot wait for the opening of the new and improved library.”
In preparation of a deal being reached, Metro Council allocated an additional $500,000 in this fiscal year’s budget toward renovating and relocating to the new space.
“I am excited to see the reopening of the Middletown Library into a permanent home. This fills a needed location in eastern Jefferson County and I am glad the Administration, Metro Council, and the City of Middletown were able to partner to get this done,” District 17 Councilman Winkler said. “While many challenges still remain with our budget and the battle against Covid-19, I am looking forward to the day we can resume use of our libraries in person and enjoy this new space.”
“The reopening of a full-time permanent and functional Middletown Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library is the result of hard work between Metro Government, specifically LFPL Director Lee Burchfield and Mayor Byron Chapman and the Commissioners for the City of Middletown,” said District 19 Councilman Piagentini. “A new Middletown Branch will offer needed critical infrastructure to an area bustling with population growth and development.”
The Middletown branch closed in June 2019 as part of several Louisville Metro Government budget reductions, resulting from a sharp increase in the city’s state pension bill and lack of new revenue. The Louisville Metro Council later passed a budget amendment that provided $412,500 to temporarily reopen a more limited branch in the East Government Center. The current Middletown location will close by November 30, in order to vacate the space before the East Government Center lease expires. Work on the new site will begin soon and will include a full renovation of the existing building —providing a more open floor plan and dedicated areas for children, teens, and adults. The new library is expected to open in the summer of 2021.
“Libraries are an integral part of a vibrant and thriving community. I am grateful to all of the people involvedthat made finding a new home for the Middletown Library a priority,” said Library Director Burchfield. “There is a lot of work yet to do, but the future is bright for library service in Middletown.”