Prince William Chairman Corey A. Stewart told a group of about 75 gathered for the groundbreaking for the Gainesville Community Library that the day had been a long time in coming, but building libraries is the right thing to do even if the budget was tight.
“There was a time when we didn’t know if we could afford to build these two new libraries. They are expensive, but we’re here today to because of the dedication of all of you – all of the citizens made it known that you needed this library,” Stewart told the crowd gathered at the intersection 14870 Lightner Road, the site of where the 20,000-square foot library will stand.
Stewart went on to say that building libraries was as important as building roads. “At the end of the day we have to build roads we have to build schools and all of that necessary infrastructure, but if we fail to build the parks, and the libraries, and the quality of life things, we will fail to attract businesses and residents and will begin to die and diminish as a community.”
Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland said the library is vital to the community. “It will demonstrate the commitment people in Prince William County have to providing educational opportunities to all of its citizens. It will be the catalyst for enriching our community and bringing together individuals and families across western Prince William County. I believe the Gainesville Library will be a source of great enlightenment and opportunity for families who live in our community. It is one of the best services our government can offer to the people it serves.”
*The $14.2 million Gainesville Community Library is one of two new libraries that are scheduled to open in September 2015. The groundbreaking for the Montclair Community Library was held on June 18, 2014.
Prince William Library Director Connie Gilman said the people of Western Prince William County have needed a full service library for some time. The only library currently in the Gainesville area is the tiny Gainesville Neighborhood Library. “It means a great deal for the community. They have had the Gainesville Neighborhood library for a good number of years, but it’s very small. The official capacity is 12,” Gilman noted.
The design of the Gainesville Community Library will include the Bushy Park House, a 200-year-old Gainesville farmhouse. The house is incorporated into the design of the new library and will become a history interpretive center at the library site.
The two libraries are part of the 2006 Bond Referendum approved by Prince William County voters.
Burk Andrews, the chairman of the Prince William County Library Board of Trustees, thanked the board for approving the two libraries. “We all know that the Board of County Supervisors was faced with a difficult financial decision and challenging priorities, but they chose to listen to the citizens of Prince William County and included the two libraries in their budget decisions, a courageous call. Well done.”
* The $9.9 million previously listed was incorrect.
Update: The Gainesville Library is now expected to be complete in October 2015.