Negotiations are under way between Columbia County officials and an Augusta-based insurance business concerning a purchase of the former Warren C. Gibbs Library.
Jack Daffin, the executive director of the Development Authority of Columbia County, said during a Wednesday meeting that county legal staffers are working on a sales contract with the winning bidder, The Insurance Center Inc., on the former North Belair Road library.
On Aug. 10, the authority's executive board selected a bid of $901,100 from The Insurance Center Inc. over competing bids from three other developers. One of those bids came from Duffie Properties, headed by Gibbs' granddaughter, Gail Duffie Stebbins.
As part of the sale, Daffin said the former library property will have to be rezoned from Residential-2 zoning to Professional-1, to accommodate its new use as an office building.
Columbia County Planning and Zoning director Jeff Browning said a rezoning application for the Gibbs property will go before the Columbia County Planning Commission on Sept. 29.
Gibbs Library opened in November 1982 and was named after the former county school board member as part of an agreement between Gibbs' stepson, who donated the land to the county. The library closed in February and was replaced with the new Columbia County Library next to the Evans courthouse.
In other business, Beda Johnson, the executive director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced that her department and the development authority have been awarded a $14,419 grant from the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
The grant will be used in part to fund a $30,000 program to market the county as a commercial, industrial and tourism destination through various media, including the development authority's Web site, www.choosecolumbiacounty.com .
Johnson said she hopes the redesigned Web site will launch by mid-October.
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