Brundidge seeks to amend library grant

Published 11:57 am Friday, July 22, 2011

When a project comes in under budget, that’s reason to smile. Brundidge city officials are in that position, but they’re not ready to smile just yet. The city received a $126,000 USDA grant for furnishings and fixtures for the recently completed Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library annex on South Main Street. The project is expected to come in under budget to the tune of around $50,000, said Britt Thomas, city manager. “Back when we learned that there would be money for library furniture and furnishings in the stimulus package offered by our current president and administration, we got into a firefight mode to get all the documents required for application,” Thomas said. “Sometimes the government wants what they want right now and you’d better be ready to get there first.” In order to comply in a hurried manner, Thomas said the city’s administrative and library staffs put together an application and listed the furniture and fixtures that were needed for the library annex at a cost of $126,000. The grant was approved and the project was bid. The bid awarded was $68,000, about $50,000 under budget. “We don’t want to give that money back to the government,” Thomas said. “The city had already budgeted $60,000 for the renovation of the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library, so we thought that, if we would go back to the USDA and request permission to amend the grant and use those funds for the renovation of the original library building, that would allow us to do a lot more than we had planned.” Even though the USDA funds were granted to the city, Thomas said the city has to play by the rules and go through the proper channels in order to use the funds in a way other than what was stated in grant application. “When I say ‘renovation,’ I mean things like putting in new carpet, painting,” Thomas said. “Things to dress up the library and restore it, as close as possible, to its former grace.” While the renovations are being done, the furnishings in the main library will have to be stored in mobile attics. “Our concern with that is we don’t want to interfere with the Peanut Butter Festival the last Saturday in October,” Thomas said. “But, if we wait until after the festival to begin, that will be several more months of waiting.” The original library building will get a facelift, with or without the USDA funds but, hopefully, with an additional $50,000 in the coffer, Thomas said. The Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Historic Places. It is the former home of Tupper Lightfoot, who was a philanthropist and strong supporter of education and the town’s young people.

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