02/22/04 — Seven Springs pleads to move library

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Seven Springs pleads to move library

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 22, 2004 2:06 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Wayne County library trustees said they would give more thought to allowing Seven Springs to move the library back into the main part of town. But they still are concerned about the potential for flooding.

The library board had voted against the town's plans to move the library back to the town, but on Friday, the trustees seemed to reconsider.

"I don't see us voting on it today," said the chairman, Caroline Phillips. She lives four miles from Seven Springs and remembers bringing her children to the old library by the river.

The Seven Springs town board had invited the trustee board of the Wayne County Public Library to hold its meeting in Seven Springs Restaurant and give the members a tour of the old church where the town wants to move the library. If the library were moved into the former Seven Springs Baptist Church, the floor would have to be raised about one foot, to be above the 100-year floodplain.

The Seven Springs library branch has moved up the hill on the south side of N.C. 55 since the old one by the river was flooded after Hurricane Floyd. The state gave the town two modular units, one for the library and one for Town Hall.

The trustees said Friday they wanted to think about it more, and they need more information, like square footage of both locations. And the trustees said they wanted to see an engineer's plan for the renovations detailing all the regulations and how the town planned to comply with them.

"I think one-third of the books were lost in the flood," said Library Director Jane Rustin. Many of the books in the new library were donated after the flood. "This is one of our newer and better collections."

The town needs this library, said Mayor Jewel Kilpatrick, and the town board is afraid the town will lose it because nobody is visiting it on the hill. People are afraid of the traffic on N.C. 55, she said. "To me the best thing we can do is move it down to the old church. We need it down in the village."

Before Friday, some of the trustees had not seen the library on the hill. They remembered the old one by the river.

Ms. Phillips said two of the trustee board members didn't think there was a problem until they had gotten half way across the highway ready to pull onto Church Street.

"It's a sentimental issue" and a dilemma to find a way to protect the library holdings and at the same time make sure Seven Springs gets to keep its library, she said.

"All of us are very concerned about this library. ... We're all working for the same thing -- to provide the best library we can," she told town board members. "We appreciate somebody being as committed as you are. We're all on the same team, I assure you. We can't disregard the emotional part of it, too."

It's a tough decision, said library trustee Phil Kastner, who helped salvage books from the Seven Springs Library during the flood. Many of the books that were saved sat on his carport for several months, while the board helped the town look for a place to put the library.

"You know how I feel about your library," he told the town board members. "I will do anything to help you out."

But he said he's afraid that if the trustees let the town move the library back down into the village, Wayne County might ask the members if they've lost their minds. Still, he said, the church is a lot nicer than the old library by the river was.

"These books have been moved three times," he said. "It's time to take them home."

Trustee John Walston said he's glad the library board came to the town Friday to tour the old church. He said the new library on the hill looks good.

J.D. Evans, who is a library trustee as well as a county commissioner, said he thinks the county board would buy into the project of renovating the old church as long as the town retains all liability.

Commissioner Atlas Price, who lives in Seven Springs, has also said he would like to see the old church used for a town hall and library.