A place for community gathering.
That’s how Marilyn Marvin, Fort Worth’s assistant library director, described the newest expansion of the Fort Worth Public Library coming to Avondale-Haslet Road.
“As always, libraries have books,” she said. “But this space is about more than books. We are committed to providing an open space, a gathering place.”
After voters approved a $12.5 million bond for public library improvements, the city has set its sights on three acres of land in Haslet as the site of the new Far Northwest Library.
The property is currently owned by John and Tracy Westrom, who operate Westrom Group Property Management on five acres. They are selling three of those acres to the city of Fort Worth for $980,100. City council members are set to vote on the purchase Tuesday.
“It’s partly a business decision, but also we had people approaching us for things like JiffyLubes, oil change places … What we’re super excited about with having that (library) right across from Sendera Ranch, it’s an amazing asset,” John Westrom said. “We’re starving for resources.”
About 76% of the library system’s 17 branches are inside the 820 Loop, Marvin said, meaning the growing community in the far north has few close options when it comes to libraries. The closest branch, the Golden Triangle Library, opened eight miles away in 2020.
“New houses are being built nonstop,” Marvin said. “A lot of houses, a lot of families, and we don’t have library services there.”
The proposed library will be 18,000 square feet, but full architectural plans haven’t been drawn up yet. Once the land is purchased, the city will seek out an architect and a construction company, so the two can work together to make the best, most cost efficient plans, Marvin said.
Once the architect is selected, the city will hold community meetings to hear what residents want from the library. Meetings with residents about the incoming Far Southwest Library revealed a desire for walkable areas and prompted the design team to include a walking trail on the property.
Westrom, who has children in the community, said there’s a clear need for more community resources.
“We’re lacking lots of resources, whether it be stores and access to a place where our kids can go and congregate and learn,” Westrom said. “Just having access to technology, internet, printing, virtual things that the library is doing. The design and concepts they’ve done in the last year are just fantastic.”
Of the $12.5 million approved by voters for public library improvements, $1.64 million will be appropriated toward design and construction of the new Far Northwest Library. Marvin said she was excited to see the city purchasing the land for the new library so soon after the May bond vote.
“Libraries tend to be toward the end of the bond cycle,” she said. “The Far Southwest Library was in the 2018 bond, and it will open in 2023. This community won’t have to wait five years for a library.”
Emily Wolf is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.