• Comment

Grovetown residents get chance to select site of new library

Posted: June 18, 2017 - 1:11am

Grovetown residents have until the end of the month to weigh in on where the city's new library will be built.

According to interim city administrator and Planning Director John Waller, residents will have their pick of three locations, each with their own pros and cons.

"What we did is we looked at every single parcel in the city that the city owned to start, to see what was big enough to accommodate the type of building and structure we are going to have, using the Harlem (library) footprint as a general base, because they got the same amount of money," Waller told residents during the city council's regular meeting June 12.

The first option is a city-owned parcel directly next door to city hall. Waller said rough depictions of the Harlem Library footprint sketched into the space show it may be problematic because the space is too narrow.

Waller said that the space provides options for keeping a large area of greenspace in front of the library, or even turning the greenspace into additional parking.

Waller said that the location may be problematic should a city hall expansion be needed for a growing staff. However, the council also considered using the second story of the library to accommodate needed office space.

"There are advantages to that for overflow parking for (council) meetings or farmers markets," Waller said. "So that was one option that made sense. We own it, so all we'd have to do is knock down that building."

The second option is a construction-ready parcel that is city-owned at the Liberty Park Community Center.

"The second option that was big enough and was not cost prohibitive is Liberty Park," Waller said. "At Newmantown Road, to the south, southwest, this would be a big open area. It's construction ready; no money needs to be spent."

However, Waller added that the location is not the centrally located area residents had expressed interest in.

The third location option is a portion of a four-and-a-half-acre tract of privately owned land, connecting Ford Avenue and Robinson Avenue, near Grovetown Elementary School.

"When we got interested in it, I found out that that property was already under contract to a local developer," Waller said. "I have spoken to that developer and he has done a gentleman's agreement; he will sell that to us, however much we need of that four and a half acres.

"I'm guessing it would probably be two to three, facing Ford Ave. But the cost is $280,000. That's not binding, that's just a conversation between two guys."

The third option comes at a cost, though it's centrally located and an overall good location, according to Waller.

However, Waller also explained to residents and the council that whatever location was selected, city-owned or not, it will have to be deeded to the county.

"It's the Columbia County Library System. It's going to be a branch for us," Waller said. "That's how it reads in the SPLOST, that we've got $3.5 million that's been allocated for the project.

But the county's got the lead for funding it, building it, maintaining it, manning it and operating it. What our role is, is to identify where it's going to be and then we've got a seat at the table when it comes to the design and functionality."

A fourth location that was initially considered was ultimately removed from the drawing board, near the Lion's Club and the Kiddie Park, according to Waller, due to the shape of the parcel and other issues.

Residents received instructions on how to vote in a handout included with their monthly water utility bill.

However, Waller said some were "leery" about voting.

"We sent out 4,800 bills, like we always do with our utility bills. Everybody had an insert and they were asked to either go online to the website that's provided to call into a number to record their vote to see where they wanted to have a new library," Waller said.

With the community's input, Waller said the results from the surveys will be tabulated and presented to the council along with a staff recommendation at the August council meeting.

 

  • Comment