Over the past several decades, Melshire Estates neighbors have fought a lot of battles: the Tollway construction, the re-zoning of Lindenshire and Preston intersection and one proposal that almost resulted in mini-skyscrapers overlooking the neighborhood.

The Preston Royal Branch library relocation isn’t one of those battles. Aside from traffic concerns, most neighbors support the city’s proposal to relocate the branch to the land at Forest and Nuestra, now occupied by the rundown Korean Young Nak Presbyterian Church.

Residents met Tuesday night in the E.D. Walker Middle School auditorium to voice questions and concerns to Councilwoman Ann Margolin and City Manager Mary Suhm. The 1998 bond program included funding for a library master plan, identifying the city’s oldest and most obsolete branches. At 44 years old, the Preston Royal Library is the system’s second oldest branch and doesn’t meet the recommendations for its service population, which tops 46,000 people.

The city would buy the nearly three and a half-acre spot for $2.65 million, having budgeted $5 million. The area’s real estate value has recently declined, making the land more affordable, Suhm says. If they don’t snatch it up now, they may never afford it later.

But possible traffic issues raise concern for some neighbors who worry that Nuestra would get increasingly congested from Forest to LBJ, especially considering the freeway-widening project on the horizon. Margolin says traffic is a fact of life for people living in Preston Hollow.

“I think it’s that there are traffic problems. People were frustrated with traffic and appropriately used this meeting to express it.”

Traffic volumes at the current location average 30-40 vehicles per hour 10 a.m.-7 p.m. The new plan would put entrances and exits at Forest rather than side streets. On the other hand, other residents are excited about the walkability the library will add to the neighborhood.

Pauline Graivier has lived in Melshire Estates for 46 years and has seen what could happen to a prominent piece of land up for grabs. She strongly supports the proposal.

“There are such things that we need to think of, No. 1, what is the alternative? That church is not kept up. This library can and will be a community center. I could see being able to go to classes there.”

City officials pointed to the Bachman Lake Branch library as an example of what the new facility would offer—18,000 square feet, more desktop and laptop computers, 100 parking spaces, and a LEED certification. But neighbors urged architects to consider a less-commercial design that really fits in with the Melshire Estates community.