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Land where new library was going sold to MetroPlains

Land the James River Valley Library System had intended to purchase for the purpose of building a new library is part of a purchase agreement with another entity.

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In a meeting of the City Council's Legal and Finance Committee Tuesday, a project manager for MetroPlains said her company has had a purchase agreement for the former Essentia Health property since Oct. 28.

“We have told them repeatedly we were interested in that site. We never said we were not interested,” said Dale Marks, chairman of the JRVLS Library Board.

Marks said representatives of the Library Board are attempting to schedule a meeting to speak with representatives of Essentia Health to find out what happened and whether the property’s sale is final.

MetroPlains intends to demolish the building currently on the site to build 24 units of senior and affordable housing there.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council agreed to a MetroPlains request to include the property in the city’s Renaissance Zone, potentially allowing property and income tax breaks for the property owners.

The Library Board had intended to build a consolidated $8.23 million, 26,488-square-foot library on the property, with a bookmobile garage, public meeting rooms and additional space for technology, materials and children’s programming.

Sun reporter Keith Norman contributed to this report.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at