Council signs off on library money
FAYETTEVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday put in the final piece of the financial puzzle for the library’s expansion.
Council members voted 6-0 to spend $26.9 million generated from a voter-approved bond issue toward building an 80,000-squarefoot expansion. The bonds sold for slightly more than the initially projected $26.5 million.
Aldermen Justin Tennant and Sarah Marsh weren’t present.
The money will help pay for the proposed $49 million expansion with the rest coming from private donations. Plans call for adding space to meet, study and collaborate, a standalone genealogy and local history space, a multipurpose center and doubling the size of youth services and the number of covered parking spaces from 220 to 443.
“This is the final step,” the city’s Chief Financial Officer Paul Becker said.
The library board last week signed a $3.7 million contract with architect Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, the same designers of the library. The council
will decide whether to finalize the deal during its next meeting. Contract negotiation is underway with Crossland Construction to build the expansion and demolish the old City Hospital building nearby.
A separate company will follow an asbestos abatement plan first. A portion of Rock Street also has to be vacated.
Library Executive Director David Johnson said he’d like to see the land ready to build on by January.
“We are as fully engaged with the city in all of its capacities as we can be,” he said. “We don’t want there to be any delays because we didn’t do our homework and didn’t talk to the right people.”
Soon the architects will host public input sessions to pinpoint exactly what residents want to see with their library expansion. No dates have been set.
The plan to expand had to overcome two major hurdles. Voters approved a millage increase in August and the library won a four-year-long court battle over the adjacent City Hospital land in March.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan took a moment to reflect on the journey to double the library’s size and add to its services.
“This is a great moment for the city,” he said. “It truly is.” Stacy Ryburn can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @stacyryburn.