A group of community residents, Xenia City and Greene County staff, potential developers, as well as historic building appreciators, have long sought to find a reuse for the Xenia Carnegie Library. Owned and kept safe/secured by Greene County, several attempts have been made to find an appropriate end user/developer. Interesting concepts have been floated, but uncertainties over re-use costs, market value, neighborhood comfort with feasible uses, questions about the structural integrity of the building, and lack of historic designation to attract special historic funding, has kept this beautiful building shuttered for several decades.
In 2012-2013 A Downtown Group (Downtown Xenia Now) hired Heritage Architectural Associates to nominate 60 commercial buildings to the National Register of Historic Places in September 2014; however the Carnegie Library was not contiguous so not able to be included. Volunteer Josephine Reno was intriqued by the vacant structure while walking her dog. She sought out Barbara Bradfute, passionate neighborhood leader of the Carnegie Historic District, Inc. Josephine Reno worked with the Ohio History Connection to complete a National Register Nomination; it was successfully listed on the National Register in February 2015.
Josephine Reno worked with the City of Xenia Development Department and Xenia Mayor/ nearby resident Marsha Bayless. Xenia City obtained CDBG funding for a Historic Structures Report (HSR) and Josephine Reno applied for a grant through the National Trust for Historic Preservation; receiving funding for a Master Planning Process. An RFQ was sent out for a historic architect; a 6 member selection committee reviewed and ranked the responses in May 2016; Heritage Architectural Associates was awarded the contract. The HSR is completed in December 2016 and presented to Xenia City Council in February 2017. The Master Planning is structured, with the first official meeting held April 27, 2017, a public survey campaign held from mid-May to July 30, 2017, and best re-use scenarios underway for concept design and probable costing.
After a summer of meetings, events, fund-raisers and campaigns, the Master Planning process has been completed and the three top options articulated here.