CenturyLink built a beautiful office building in town before changing owners and moving its company headquarters, and that’s the current site under consideration for the new library. Council members are looking at a very tempting deal. Essentially, the city can buy the building for a million dollars, plus the old library building.
There’s more to it than that — in fact the contract runs close to 100 pages.
CenturyLink needs to keep some equipment operating in the basement, and they need 25 parking spaces available for use at the site of the current library. Council members are discussing moving the Police Department to the CenturyLink building, which would free up the needed parking spaces.
In addition, the Pell City Board of Education currently has a lease that runs through next March in the CenturyLink building, and the building will need close to another million dollars in renovations to make it work as a library.
The city is also looking closely at its financial picture, which already has substantial debt.
For years library patrons and staff in Pell City have longed for a larger facility to better support the collections and programs the library offers the community.
Suggestions in the past have focused on locations near Williams Intermediate School and Jefferson State Community College, and more recently, renovating the former Department of Human Resources building, ideas that failed to materialize for a variety of reasons.
The building was appraised for $4.5 million just three years ago when the previous council considered buying the property. That makes the current proposal looks like a deal too good to refuse. With 53,000 square feet in the building, city leaders believe there is plenty of room for the library plus other city offices, another reason to look favorably upon the acquisition. Its location on US 231 will also be a plus, with easy access and more visibility.
The library’s director, Danny Stewart, took Pell City Library Guild members and others through the building last week, with very favorable feedback.
City officials are reviewing the contract, and it’s too soon to say it’s a done deal, but it’s looking good. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this time the library will finally have a new home.