By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Scaffolding has been erected around a former public library now being converted into a new home for the local branch of an organization focused on the needs of children.
The former Princeton Public Library at 205 Center St. was vacated when the library moved into its newly renovated quarters, the former post office on Mercer Street. Ideas such as turning the empty building into a police station or a physician’s office were suggested. Now the old library will be the new home of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.
Mayor Patricia “Pat” Wilson said Monday that the former library would be the society’s new location in Princeton. The local office of the Children’s Home Society is currently on Harrison Street. A next-door home the library had used as an annex has been torn down.
The former library is near the intersection of Center Street and Mercer Street. Wilson said seeing another vacant building get a new occupant is good for development on Mercer Street.
“I think any time you have an empty building and you have something good and positive go into it, it only helps with the revitalization we hope to see on the rest of Mercer Street,” Wilson said.
The Children’s Home Society of West Virginia is a private, non-profit child welfare organization. Members of the local office were not available for comment Monday.
The city and New River Community and Technical College are currently negotiating a lease at the former First Community Bank on Mercer Street. Plans call for moving city offices to the renovated bank and sharing the building with the college. New River officials have said the move could allow the college to increase enrollment in Mercer County.
“I’m so excited. It all looks so good and promising,” Wilson said.
Getting the college’s students and other people on Mercer Street would increase demand for restaurants and other businesses, she said.