Patrons of the Columbia County Library soon will have a new coffee shop operating in the library's front lobby.
County Commissioners approved a contract Tuesday with Bean Baskette Coffee, which will operate Foot Notes Cafe. The space was formerly occupied by Kaffe Klatch Inc., which vacated the cafe in February after failing to make lease payments.
As the new vendor, Bean Baskette will be allowed to operate a concession stand near the Columbia County Amphitheater. The business is also given the first opportunity to cater many events at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center and the amphitheater.
For the first six months, Bean Baskette has offered to pay the county $700 and 5 percent of its gross profits. The amount would then be raised to $750, with 6 percent of gross profits.
Other restaurants that expressed interest in operating the cafe were the Garlic Clove and Sunrise Grill.
Library Manager Mary Lin Maner, who is married to Bean Baskette owner David Baskette, doesn't have authority over the eatery. The library cafe is overseen by the county's Rental Facilities and Venues Department, officials previously have said.
Also at the meeting, commissioners approved the transfer of $1 million of economic incentive funds for the county's broadband network project.
The money will be repaid to the fund at 5 percent interest from revenues made by the service after the project starts, commission Chairman Ron Cross said.
The Columbia County Community Broadband Network project will provide public use to 60 free Wi-Fi hotspots located at parks, libraries, community centers and the senior center. Areas of the county without broadband Web access, such as Appling and Harlem, could also benefit from the service.
The county received a $13.5 million federal stimulus grant in March to increase broadband and wireless Internet access throughout the county.
In other business, the first reading of a county tree ordinance amendment was tabled for further review.
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