New home divulged for Manheim library

By on February 21, 2018

Will partner with Pleasant View Retirement Community

The mystery is now solved and rumors can be put to rest.

Manheim Community Library made an announcement Feb. 15 about its plans to relocate from its home on the second floor of the borough office building at 15 E. High St.

Ken Hameloth, president of the library’s board, and Jonathan Hollinger, president and CEO of Pleasant View Retirement Community, announced that the library plans to relocate to the cultural center that’s being planned for the retirement community’s Hoffer farm.

Hollinger explained that the new cultural center is currently in the planning stages. It’s one of several amenities that would be constructed on the nearly 58-acre tract along North Penryn Road. It’s located across the road from the retirement community’s main campus, which sits on a nearly 50-acres at 544 N. Penryn Road.

Hollinger said that the Hoffer farm is already owned by Pleasant View; it was formerly owned by Edna Hoffer, one of the retirement community’s founders.

Hollinger said the retirement community recently unveiled a new strategic plan and updated its core values.

“Every day nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 — that’s huge. They don’t have the same expectations as their parents did at that age. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this next generation of retirement community residents and yet continue to fulfill Edna Hoffer’s vision,” Hollinger said. “We want to serve as the heart of the community for both residents on our campus and those outside our campus.”

With that in mind, Hollinger said that the cultural center that’s planned for the Hoffer farm would have about 12,000 to 15,000 square feet of space, with 7,000 to 8,000 feet of space being dedicated for the Manheim Community Library.

Other amenities planned for the cultural center include a maker’s space — artisan studios where artists can work and/or demonstrate their craft; event space; and a possible day care facility. Hameloth said the library could use the event space to hold library programs.

Other uses being considered for the farm itself include walking trails, sunflower fields, Nature’s Acre (a pollinator and butterfly garden area that would be planted and tended by Pleasant View residents); and a hydroponics area that could be developed in conjunction with the Manheim Central ag-ed department.

Pleasant View Retirement Community president Jonathan Hollinger (left) and Manheim Community Library board president Ken Hameloth sign the letter of intent for the library’s move to the cultural center that’s being planned for the retirement community. The center would be constructed on what’s known as the Hoffer Farm, which is owned by the retirement community and is located across Penryn Road from the community’s main campus. (Photo by Rochelle Shenk)

“We envision the Hoffer farm as community space. We’re excited to take land that we have and use it to engage and give back to the Manheim Central community,” said Hollinger. “It’s important to create a plan for the library and for Pleasant View that lasts long after our (mine and Ken’s) lifetimes.”

“The library has long outgrown its space, but as we’ve looked at potential new sites, our concern has been sustainability. This partnership with Pleasant View fills that need,” Hameloth added.

And in a nod to Manheim’s founder, Henry William Stiegel, and tradition of payment of one red rose per year as the “rent” for the ground donated to construct Zion Evangelical Church, Hollinger and Hameloth said the rent payment from the library to Pleasant View will be in the form of one book per year. It’s also appropriate that the announcement is being made in February, since February is National Library Lover’s Month.

The library’s search for a new building has been ongoing for several years. In addition to outgrowing the space it’s occupied in the borough building since 1974, there’s also a lack of parking there. In June 2011, the library unveiled plans to purchase a lot at Ferdinand and Oak streets and construct a nearly 18,000 square foot building. Estimated cost at that time was $3 million. Those plans fell through due to lack of funding.

More recently, the library had investigated possibly relocating to the former Stiegel Elementary School at 3 S. Hazel St. Hameloth said there was a concern with how the library would fill the 55,000-square-foot building.

“We would have been constrained by the building and its layout. With Pleasant View, we have the opportunity to create a space from the ground up — something that’s designed to function as a library,” he stressed.

While the current location in the borough can encourage patrons to walk to the library, Hameloth said that’s not necessarily the case.

“Last year we did a survey of people who use the library and asked how they got there that day. Many people checked off both driving and walking,” he explained. “When we asked them about that, the response was that they drove and parked their car, but they felt the walk from parking areas was far enough to be considered ‘walking.’”

The Hoffer farm is nearly one-and-a-half miles from the center of Manheim. Hameloth said the library board does understand that distance may not be “walkable” for some people, so part of the discussion with Pleasant View has included the possibility of running a shuttle bus to a central location in the borough.

Hameloth said he anticipates the library moving to its new location at the end of 2019. He stressed that the name of the library will not change; it will remain Manheim Community Library.

Hollinger said the retirement community is in its due diligence stage of the project.

“We haven’t finalized the building design or what other amenities we’ll include as we develop the Hoffer Farm, so it’s still somewhat of a work in progress,” he said. “But we’re already working with Penn Township.”

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

One Comment

  1. Suzanne Hamme

    January 18, 2019 at 6:04 am

    I’m looking forward to volunteering at the library and think the new location will be exciting for everyone!

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