Liberty Road could one day be home to Baltimore County’s newest combined library branch and recreation center.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. announced the plans Wednesday afternoon, standing outside the future site of the 90,000-square-foot facility — a vacant commercial space.

The space will expand the footprint of the existing Randallstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library and provide the area with a new recreation and parks center.

“This investment fills a vacant commercial center with significant activity, which will also be a major boost to the entire Liberty Road Corridor,” Olszewski said.

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Olszewski and others announced more than $41 million in funding for the project, including $10 million from county funds for acquiring the property and about $31 million in state funding for renovating it. Olszewski said there was not yet a timeline for the project, though.

Its location, 8212 Liberty Road, is about a mile from the existing library branch, right next to Scotts Branch Elementary School and accessible by public transit, Olszewski said. It would be the second combined recreation center/library in the county — Sollers Point is home to a multipurpose center that combines a recreation center and library branch.

The idea, right now, is for about 50,000 square feet to be dedicated to the library and over 30,000 square feet dedicated to the recreation center. Some space will be shared between the two.

The Baltimore County Council is set to discuss approving the purchase of the property at forthcoming meetings.

The new location is set to include enough space for more than 200,000 annual library visitors, arts space and public access computers on the library side, and an open gymnasium, walking path and indoor courts — including for pickleball — on the rec center side.

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The Baltimore County Council will vote soon on approving the purchase of the 90,000-square-foot property in Randallstown. (Cody Boteler)

House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, a Democrat who represents western Baltimore County, said she remembers more than 50 years ago when the Randallstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library first opened, and recalls visiting it with her children.

“Today however, we know the current Randallstown library has long since outgrown itself. While I’m always pleased to hear the number of people it serves each year, I think we can all agree that its current location lacks the space to support the breadth of our community’s needs,” Jones said.

The existing Randallstown library branch was built in 1957, and it saw more than 100,000 customers last year. Nearly 1,000 people got assistance with their tax preparation at the branch this year. It has the highest number of public computer users per square foot of space across all Baltimore County Public Library branches, and has “insufficient space” for needed program expansion, Baltimore County officials said.

Sonia Alcántara-Antoine, CEO of the county library system, said libraries in the 21st century are “in the quality of life business,” offering a variety of services — like access to social workers, help with taxes and resumes and more — in addition to being a place to check out books.

“We don’t shush anymore,” she said.

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County officials said they will schedule a community input meeting in June for feedback on the proposal. Details on the meeting have not been set yet.

Update: Baltimore County officials clarified that Sollers Point is also home to a multipurpose center that combines a recreation center and library branch.

Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

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