Library purchases additional land near Greenfield branch

GREENFIELD — Though it’s been farmland for decades, the four acres directly east of the Hancock County Public Library soon will be the library’s to develop.

The Hancock County Public Library Board recently gave the nod to library officials to move forward with the $80,000 purchase of slightly more than four acres currently being used as soybean cropland. Though an environmental study must be conducted on the land, and zoning procedures must be completed, library director Dave Gray told the board he expects the purchase to be complete by the end of the year.

The land, which has for years been leased by its owners to a farmer, will be developed as additional parking for the library, 900 W. McKenzie Road, and provide more space for outdoor programming. Gard said library officials don’t expect to develop the land for several years, so the library board will have to decide whether to continue leasing the land out as farmland in the meantime.

Though parking spots are plentiful during a normal day, large events like political debates or concerts can cause parking headaches, with overflow going to the Greenfield-Central High School soccer field parking area across McKenzie Road. The additional space could also be utilized to host some of the library’s more popular events outdoors, instead of confining them to rooms inside the building with limited space, officials said.

Tim Dunigan of Greenfield, who visited the library this week, said he welcomes the expansion to the library’s campus, whether it’s used for parking or programs for patrons.

Architects planned the Greenfield branch’s layout 10 years ago to allow for additional construction, library director Dave Gray said. As the library grows, its current location allows for expansion while maintaining the library’s main entrance off of McKenzie Road, Gray said.

The move comes one month after the library board approved the $700,000 purchase of a 5-acre tract of land in the 5800 block of U.S. 52 in New Palestine, less than a mile from the library’s Sugar Creek branch. Officials hope to build a new facility on the land in the coming years, saying patrons have pushed the current branch space to capacity.

Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.