03/25/04 — Seven Springs library can be moved -- with conditions

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Seven Springs library can be moved -- with conditions

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 25, 2004 2:05 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- The town board and Wayne County library trustees have agreed in principle to move the Seven Springs library down the hill.

The library trustees presented conditions under which they would allow the library to move back into the town to a spot that was flooded after Hurricane Floyd. And the town board on Wednesday voted to accept the conditions, which would require, among other things, flood insurance for the library's books and equipment.

The move still hinges on the town receiving grants and being able to buy the former Seven Springs Baptist Church to house the library and Town Hall.

After the flood in 1999, the library and Town Hall were moved up onto the hill across from N.C. 55 into modular units provided by the state. The library trustees initially denied the request to move the library because of flooding fears. But they later reconsidered after meeting with the town board, which argued that having the library on the hill prevented people from visiting it. The board also said that moving the library back in town would revitalize a community that is struggling to recover.

Before the library can be moved, the trustees want written documentation that an environmental health study has been performed by a qualified engineer or the Wayne County Health Department, assuring that the building is safe.

They want written confirmation from the county building inspector that the building meets all the handicapped-accessibility and fire codes for a library.

They want at least 1,539 square feet of space for the library and at least $50,000 worth of flood insurance provided by the town to cover replacement costs of books and equipment. They also want the town to bear all the costs of moving the library.

The trustees' proposal brought relief to town board members Wednesday, but they had some conditions of their own.

The trustees had asked the board to consider using the church's sanctuary for the library rather than back rooms. But the board hopes to rent out the sanctuary for events like family reunions, to raise money for the town.

The board also wants an agreement that it can keep the library there for 10 years. Some of the board members were afraid the library might move down the hill and stay for a year, then "pack up and leave."

Town Commissioner Danny Carter moved to agree to all of the trustees' conditions if the town can buy the old church, if the state's Local Government Commission approves it and if the town receives a grant to help pay for the renovations. The motion also contained a required minimum of 10 years occupancy.

Carter said the renovations could cost more than $68,000 and another $6,000 for electrical work. But he also said the town could do less-extensive renovations for about $9,000.

Town Commissioner Rodolph Adams said he didn't see how the board could decide what to do until it received the grant. "How are you going to promise all this when we don't have any money?"

"We sure aren't going to do all this if we don't buy the building," said Town Commissioner Peggy Jones, referring to the church. She then gave a second to Carter's motion. The vote was unanimous.