Leader Blues

Monday, February 12, 2007

TOP STORY >>Site plan for library to be reviewed

IN SHORT: Commissioners will get their first look at preliminary proposals for the $2.5 million facility on Main Street.

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

The site plan for Jacksonville’s new $2.5 million library will be presented to the planning commission Monday night at city hall.

It will be the first of at least three presentations that will have to be made to the planning commission before construction can start. The commission will also have to approve the preliminary plat and then the final plat.

Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, is excited about the plans for the new library.
“The new library will be equipped with a wireless system giving residents high speed Internet access 24/7. People can sit in the park and use the Internet on their laptops.”

Roberts also said the new library will have a large meeting room that the city and others can use after hours. “There’s even a warming room for food,” he said.

“Everyone seems real pleased with the design. It will work on the lot real well,” he said.

The 13,500-square-foot facility will be built on about a four-acre lot next to Walgreens on West Main Street.
Roberts said the new library would dramatically improve service to Jacksonville residents.

He also said the new library could lead to more downtown redevelopment. “When people see public dollars be used for a permanent investment it sparks more investment.

The plans, developed by W.E.R. Architects of Little Rock, call for the library to be expandable on multiple sides so it can grow with Jacksonville.

It will also have a secure outdoor space for outside activities, a large pavilion that can be used by area residents and groups, and a pond and plaza.

The architect predicts the pavilion and plaza area will become a popular site for weddings. “The library will have a civic presence, “but it will clearly have a park atmosphere,” he said.

Inside the library will have more computers than the current Nixon library located just west of the new site, more space for books, and other items, along with a multi-purpose room that can accommodate a large number of children who participate in the library’s weekly story times and summer reading program.

“I’d like for this to be a centerpiece for the downtown area,” Swaim has said, with amenities including a park-like setting.
Other business on the planning commission’s agenda includes:

- A rezoning request by Hope Lutheran Church to rezone plots A and B of the Nixon Addition from R-1 (single-family homes) to R-3 (multi-family residences).

- Commissioners will also decide whether or not to approve the sketch plat of Porter’s Subdivision.