Huntsville council emerged from a closed session meeting on Monday night to announce its approval for the purchase of 1 Minerva Street East.
The building, situated beside the Huntsville Public Library, is the former location of Mac’s Milk. It is being purchased for $210,000 to serve as a future expansion for the library.
This isn’t costing the taxpayers a dime.Library Board Member and Huntsville Councillor Brian Thompson
Thompson told Huntsville Doppler that the library has the money in reserves from development charges as well as private donations. He said the initial asking price for the building was approximately $240,000 and negotiations took just a couple of months.
“We’ve been kicking the idea around but the Town has to own it so it was just a case of getting the Town to buy it. The Library Board has the funds to pay for it so we’ll be paying the Town for it. That’s the way it works,” he said. “The beautiful thing is we can use it now. We’ll do some minor repairs and minor work on it right now, but we can use it in the very short term.”
Asked what it could be used for now, Thompson said that’s up to the Board to decide but cited children’s programming and the possibility of art exhibits and room for meetings, as an example.
“We decided that rather than knock down what we’ve got or go to a new building, we would renovate and add,” he said, adding that the actual library expansion would likely be a three to five year plan.
We have to go through a major fundraising and all that other stuff before we even get to that point. But we can’t do that if we don’t have that property, there’s no place else for us to go really. That property becoming available was an opportunity for us. We’re really happy to get it.
Councillor Brian Thompson
Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison declared a pecuniary interest on the library request before council went into closed session at its November 23, 2015 meeting He was no longer present when council emerged from closed session with its decision.
The day following the meeting, the library sent this release:
The Huntsville Public Library Board would like to thank the Town of Huntsville for their acquisition of the property of 1 Minerva St. E. While the Town will be the owner of the property, it will be for sole use by the Huntsville Public Library. The mayor, council, CAO and staff have been incredibly helpful and their knowledge, experience, and attention to detail have facilitated this acquisition and the Library Board is very grateful.
As Library Board Member and Huntsville Councillor Brian Thompson told Huntsville Doppler following the November 23rd council meeting “this isn’t costing the taxpayers a dime.” Costs were covered with funds in library reserves from development charges as well as private donations.
This is the perfect time for the acquisition. Our last renovation/addition was in 1995. In 20 years so much has changed and we need to update the physical structure of the current facility, to increase space, and to meet user needs now and 20 years in the future.
Library Board Chair Sue Dixon
In the coming year the existing structure at 1 Minerva St. E. will receive improvements and will be used as an annex to the current Library at 7 Minerva St. E. In the long run the site will be used for future expansion. The Library Board and staff will be connecting with the community throughout the process.
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