10/21/07 — Fremont won't move mini park

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Fremont won't move mini park

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 21, 2007 2:00 AM

The Fremont Friends of the Library got their wish this week when town officials canceled plans to move a "mini-park" next to the town's library.

Town Aldermen voted Tuesday to instead go forward with the Friends of the Library's plans to landscape next to the library on North Goldsboro Street.

The now-aborted park move was intended to save the town $1,200 a year in rent money, Town Manager Kerry McDuffie said.

Town officials put a park on Dock Street on rented land about seven years ago and its owner does not wish to sell, the town manager said.

"I wasn't here when it was decided to rent land to put a town park on," McDuffie said. "I guess it's always cheaper up front to rent than it is to buy."

McDuffie said the landscaping plans were an "awesome thing for the town," but "I don't know what we're going to do as far as the park."

For the past two years, residents who don't want the Dock Street park to leave have come up with $1,200 to keep it there, McDuffie said.

In the meantime, the Fremont Friends of the Library continue plans to keep their library open.

Plans that the Wayne County Library Board of Trustees submitted to county commissioners call for southern and northern regional libraries.

Those plans also call for closing down branches in Mount Olive, Seven Springs, Pikeville and Fremont. Library Executive Director Jane Rustin said that running both regional facilities and the individual town locations won't work economically.

But Rustin also presented a challenge to the Fremont Friends of the Library and its Chairman Steve Knotts.

Knotts has said that over $86,000 pledged -- not yet collected -- donations of cash and materials had been received.

That was enough for Mrs. Rustin to announce that the library would not close until plans to build the regional facilities move forward.

Knotts told Fremont aldermen that he thinks that will be a while.

"They (the library system) don't have the money, they don't have the plans, they don't have the property," Knotts said. "It's nothing that's going to happen soon."

Knotts said Mrs. Rustin, like the Friends of the Library, supported keeping the playground away from the library. Knotts said playgrounds adjacent to libraries lead to unattended children.

The library has served to unite the community as of late, Mayor Devone Jones said, praising the Fremont Friends of the Library for efforts to raise $86,000 in cash and other donations.

Jones said he had looked over a proposal with donated landscaping and plans for a Boy Scout troop-built gazebo and loved the idea.

"It looks so good to me that I don't see anything wrong with it," Jones said. "I think we are as excited as you are."

The Dock Street park serves mainly children seven years old and younger, the town manager said.

"It's got some swings and some slides, that kind of stuff," McDuffie said.