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Troy library project closer

The city of Troy has begun the process that will bring a new public library to fruition.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford has appointed a Library Committee, which held it’s first meeting last week.

The committee, of Lunsford, Council Members Wanda Moultry and Jason Reeves, Library Director William White, Susan Murphree and Evelyn Watson, will begin meeting regularly in hopes of getting the project off the ground quickly.

Lunsford said the goal is to have a preliminary design for the project in place by the group’s first meeting in January.

“The first contract with the architects is to look at what the ideal library would be — what they need, what they want, where to put it on the site and what other work it might generate to accommodate that,” Lunsford said.

“Once we get the ideal, we’ll go through and price it.”

There is no amount the city has budgeted for the project at this time, so Lunsford said for now, the committee is just building the “ideal” Troy Public Library.

“We want to know what the ideal library would cost and see if it’s something we feel like we can pay for at this time,” Lunsford said. “If not, we’ll start making adjustments.”

The preliminary plans will be funded by a $50,000 grant for architect fees. Lunsford said he’s not completely certain where the rest of the project’s money will come from.

“Once we know when we’re going to build it, we’ll attempt for more grant funds that might pay for some,” Lunsford said.

Right now, Lunsford said what the committee does know is the library’s land is already paid for.

The city’s plans are to build the new library on Elm Street at the old Troy High School.

This comes after the Troy City Council worked to purchase land closer to the heart of downtown Troy, near the current library location.

“We just don’t have any other place,” said Councilman Jason Reeves. “With the library we want, the size and specs, that’s the location we need.”

Another positive to moving to Elm Street, Reeves said, is the city already owns the land.

“The more money we spend on the site and site property, the more we take away from the building,” he said.

While Reeves said he would prefer to see the library closer to the center of downtown, he said he hopes the new library will generate growth for the area.

“The square is the heart of downtown, but it’s not all downtown,” Reeves said. “I will be toward the opening of Walnut Street, and it’d be nice to open that whole area and make it part of downtown.”

Lunsford said he hopes plans will be ready for construction to begin in the next year.

“Ideally, we’ll get this preliminary design in January, determine by looking at our budget we can pay for it and immediately go into the final design and construction,” Lunsford said.

Once the final design is in place, Lunsford said it would take another two to three months to accept bids for construction. Then, he said the construction process may take nine months to complete.

The library board will continue to meet bi-weekly to finalize plans.