Ten years ago, a study showed that the Elkridge library needed to be more than twice its current size in order to meet the needs of the community.Then five years ago, a feasaibility study determined that renovation of the existing building would not be an option.
Aside from it being too small, the branch doesn't have the classroom or meeting room space necessary or even a heating and air conditioning system that works properly. In that time, a new, state-of-the-art library was built in Ellicott City and renovations are under way to double the size of the Savage library.
True, the wheels of government can sometimes turn slowly. It's a common lament for residents of the Route 1 corridor, where the complaint is often that their area is neglected in comparison to the investments the county makes in Columbia and/or Ellicott City.
But slow as government may be at times, those wheels do still turn. Sometimes they just need a little grease.
Monday brought encouraging news when Howard County Budget Administrator Ray Wacks announced that an extra $13.6 million had been found in the budget in order to not only fund the remainder of a new Elkridge library and senior center, but to get it done in a way that construction can begin in the next year.
Thanks to the urging of county library system CEO Valerie Gross and an extra push from local councilwoman and county executive candidate Courtney Watson, County Executive Ken Ulman agreed to double the initial budgeted number of $6.255 million by moving around some dollars in the budget. This means that a new library and senior center will be built on adjacent land with the current facility being razed, likely for parking once the new one is open.
Call it a good governmental decision or, as some cynics might say, an election year miracle. Regardless, Elkridge will finally be getting that library upgrade. We'll just call it a good thing.