Ribbon-cutting christens Heritage Public Library’s relocation in New Kent
After a year in the making, New Kent’s branch of the Heritage Public Library has a new, permanent home.
Saturday morning’s ribbon cutting ceremony put the exclamation point on the library’s relocation to the Maidstone Development Park. With 100 people in attendance, including several state and local dignitaries, the once abandoned Colonial Virginia Bank building now houses thousands of books.
“There were lots of people who didn’t think this would happen,” said outgoing Heritage Public Library director Barbara Winters, who will be relocating to Minneapolis to spend more time with her family. “There were a few times where the library’s board of directors had doubts that this would come to fruition.”
But instead of folding, perseverance prevailed as a plan began formulating in September 2015 to purchase the empty bank building. With its prime location in the center of the county as well as walking distance within most of the county schools, the proposal began gaining steam. In April 2016, New Kent supervisors approved purchasing the property for $950,000.
“I can’t thank the supervisors enough for their support,” Winters said. “There were a lot of people who helped us with this project. I can’t thank the donors, volunteers, and everybody who took part in this project. This was just a group effort.”
Winters opened the ceremony speaking about the library’s formation on Aug. 1, 1981. New Kent’s branch has moved twice, spending time in what is now the Mann Page Lodge in Providence Forge and its more recent location in Chesapeake Circle. As Winters continued, she also added comments about more work to complete.
“We still have a lot and we’re continue to work with the library’s campaign to raise funds for new furniture,” she commented. “When people come here, they will see that their donations are being put to great use.”
District 5 supervisor and board chairman Ray Davis commented about the addition of the library to the area.
“This is the cornerstone of Maidstone,” the chairman commented. “As this area continues to grow, so will this library.”
New Kent state delegate Chris Peace concluded the ceremony with a recollection of his childhood memories spent at the library and how Heritage Public Library stands out.
“Bad libraries just have books, good libraries have resources, but excellent libraries build and support communities,” Peace said. “Heritage Public Library is an excellent library.”