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Library space sought

Members of the Mulberry Public Library Committee are looking to expand the city’s library to make a space for children and teens.

Mulberry City Council gave the library committee the go ahead to seek funding to pay for the cost of the expansion at the July 15 council meeting, according to the pending meeting minutes.

Anna Moore, children’s librarian at the Mulberry Public Library, gave a presentation on children and teen programs provided by the library and spoke on the lack of space to host the programs.

Moore told council members that the children’s room is not spacious enough to accommodate for the planned activities or the number of children who come for the library programs, and the library does not have a teen room at all.

Though the library staff are proud of the programs they have, Moore said, some programs have to be held off site because of the space issue. Moore felt strongly that it is important to continue to offer opportunities to enjoy the library, she said.

Moore introduced Galen Hunter of MAHG Architecture, who had collaborated with library committee members on plans for a possible expansion and costs.

During the meeting, Hunter presented plans for adding a 50 feet by 50 feet square to the north side of the existing library and adding another 160 square feet to the front on either side of the entry.

While the north side addition would be where the parking lot is currently, parking could be added to the back, Hunter said.

Hunter went over the layout, showing a children’s library and teen room with an additional bathroom, storage and sink for arts and crafts projects. He gave an estimate of total project cost at about $344,490.

Vonna Steele with the Friends of the Mulberry Library told the council that the group plans to look for grants and host fundraising events to help with the costs for the expansion.

Paul Jones of Jones Consulting provided information on housing opportunities for city residents, according to the minutes.

Jones said the state acquires federal monies for the program that then is divided to cities that apply. Five applicants are necessary to go forward with the program, he said.

The program provides about $450,000 per project - $90,000 for each of the five houses - to tear down the existing house and build a new one, Jones said.

Half of the cost of the new house is forgiven as the person makes payments of about $207 per month, plus taxes and insurance, for 20 years, Jones said. As each payment is made, another payment is forgiven, he said.

To qualify, applicants must own the property, lived there at least three years and meet income requirements, Jones said. Reparation costs must be more than $25,000 to bring it to state code, and other restrictions apply, he said.

The only cost to the city would be a newspaper advertisement to procure a contract once the five-house project is approved, and the city must do an annual report to assure taxes are paid and the houses are covered by insurance, Jones said.

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