Prairie Village, library discuss including rebuilt Corinth branch as part of possible community center project

The Corinth branch of the Johnson County Library is slated for reconstruction in the coming years. City officials said they’ve been in contact with the library about possibly locating a new version of the branch close to a community center.

Prairie Village city officials and representatives of the Johnson County Library have had preliminary discussions about the idea of incorporating a rebuilt Corinth Library branch into a broader community center project.

City staff and Mayor Eric Mikkelson reported in February that they had held early meetings with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City about potentially partnering to bring a modern community center and indoor pool to Prairie Village. On Monday, County Commissioner Becky Fast and Prairie Village City Administrator Wes Jordan acknowledged that those talks had recently been expanded to include the library system.

City officials have had discussions with the YMCA about the possibility of partnering to bring a modern community center to Prairie Village.

Fast, who appeared at the start of Monday’s council meeting to give an update on issues before the board of county commissioners, noted that the Corinth branch of the library is slated for reconstruction in the coming years, and that the idea of co-locating the branch near a community center, like the project currently under construction in Merriam, had great appeal.

“I think that’s very exciting at the county level, because we want to work with the city, and have that partnership we have with the city of Merriam,” Fast said.

But, as Jordan noted, all of the conversations thus far have been very preliminary.

“The prospect of possibly partnering with the city on a community center project received very positive results on the initial conversation,” Jordan told the council of the discussions with the library. “We need to have a few more conversations with the library, with the Y, and once some things are hammered out, we will be bringing it back to you for consideration.”

Jordan indicated that he hoped to have a more defined outline of what a partnership between the three entities could look like within the next 45 days, though it could be longer. The next formal step for the council to consider may be giving approval for a formal feasibility study on the partnership. He said that the project in Merriam, where a new Antioch branch of the library is being built adjacent to the city’s new community and aquatic center, could serve as a model for how a partnership would work.

“They do have a template that was used in Merriam, so we wouldn’t be reinventing the wheel, so to speak,” Jordan said.

Ward 1 Councilman Chad Andrew Herring responded to the news of the discussions between the city and the library by stressing that Prairie Village needed a robust library branch in the future whether it was part of a bigger project or not.

“I hope that we can continue to communicate to the county how important that library is for Prairie Village,” Herring said. “So that regardless of whether that is conceived of as part of a community center, we are committed and strongly desire that library to remain a jewel in Prairie Village.”