LETTER: Make Old Library Available to Community Groups

March 12, 2013


Cape Charles is about to have a beautiful new library. The old library building and excess computers should be provided to organizations that are focused on community activities, both educational and recreational.

Concerned Citizens of Cape Charles, a non-profit organization, was formed by local residents in 1989. The working class community organized to be better informed, educated, and empowered to become a part of the civic decision-making process, and to accept responsibility for self improvement and in turn community improvements at a time when the Town did not have the human or financial resources to sustain itself.

The organization’s mission is to improve the lives and living conditions of the working class residents through human development and the creation and development of a sustainable community.

Concerned Citizens became the advocate and the voice for the disenfranchised. The organization brought many resources to Cape Charles, including hundreds of student volunteers who worked on community projects including installing shelves in the Library, painting a senior’s house, moving scenery at Arts Enter, and gardening at the Museum.

The group also fought for changes to promote community stability such as zoning laws that allowed in-fill housing development and other laws favorable to improving the quality of life.

Channel 10 was on our side when the Town wanted to use $1.2 million in Community Development Block Grants for infrastructure improvements instead of the most critical need of housing rehabilitation.

Concerned Citizens also brought national media attention to its fight to save the predominantly African-American Northeast neighborhood when a developer’s plan for a resort retirement community would have destroyed the neighborhood and displaced its residents.


When Cape Charles received a breath of life, and things started improving, some of the directors and members of the Concerned Citizens group began to question the need for services that it was providing and the organization’s role in the community.

Now, after partnering with Old School Cape Charles in the effort to save the school for a community center, Concerned Citizens is in the process of reorganizing, realizing that the changes and improvements that have occurred and those proposed are for the benefit of some, while for others the quality of life has worsened, as we discovered during our organizing efforts.

For example, it was heartbreaking to hear at the March 7 Town Council budget work session that the porta-potty was removed from the park, and vacant houses were boarded up, to prevent homeless people from sleeping in them. I say we can do better than that!

Old School Cape Charles and Concerned Citizens of Cape Charles are willing to assist the Town in providing needed community services, and will request that the Town allow us to use space at the old library, leaving computers and all other equipment that are not needed at the new facility.

The plan is not to duplicate services, but to enhance and create awareness of what exists, and address the gaps and the needs based on community dictates.


Lenora Mitchell is president of Concerned Citizens for Cape Charles.

Letters to the Editor are welcome on any subject relevant to Cape Charles, and a diversity of opinions is encouraged. Letters should be original and never submitted elsewhere. Send submissions to [email protected].



3 Responses to “LETTER: Make Old Library Available to Community Groups”

  1. Gene Kelly on March 13th, 2013 12:22 pm

    Just out of curiousity, since they are moving to a larger facility, why would there be excess computers?

  2. Marita Patterson on March 14th, 2013 8:20 pm

    The Friends of the Cape Charles Library have been advocating for the old facility to be available as a meeting room/community center/whatever for months.

    No matter what it is used for, if the name includes “Library Annex”, we can legally use the approximately $300 movie license that the Friends buy every year for the library there as well.

  3. David Gay on March 15th, 2013 8:09 am

    What about using it for small venue progams like jazz, blues or chamber music that don’t have a large enough audience for the Palace?