Northgate Library plans are in limbo

Northgate Library plans are in limbo

October 19th, 2012 by Cliff Hightower in Local Regional News

Cayce Weekley browses the children's section at the Northgate Library.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

A once-discussed move of the Northgate library branch from its current location is now barely on the radar screen for city officials.

Corrinne Hill, the Chattanooga Public Library's director, said there needs to be strategic planning before a move is even considered.

"That shouldn't be just, 'Hey, there's an empty building over there,'" she said.

Hill, who was hired earlier this year, said she hadn't heard any talk about moving the Northgate branch, the busiest of the four library branches in Chattanooga.

"That hasn't come up since I've been here," she said.

The city is remodeling a new library branch near Eastgate Town Center.

In the Hixson area, where the Northgate library is located, a city recreation center also has been opened and the area around it is being renovated. The library is about a mile south of the new rec center, built on the site of the former Hixson Middle School.

Last year, Mayor Ron Littlefield made several public comments that the library branch could be moved to the area of the recreation center.

Richard Beeland, spokesman for the mayor, backtracked from those comments Thursday.

"That was a possibility, but I don't think it's under consideration at this time," he said. "Anything's a possibility."

The Northgate library has faced some problems. A library report that came out two years ago nicked the branch for some safety hazards and computer technology problems. There also has been criticism that the round library is too small and its design does not allow for much renovation.

Carol Green, Northgate library manager, said the safety issues have been fixed and the library is upgrading its Internet speeds. Green said that, as far as she knew, the priority is the Eastgate branch with Northgate coming next.

But Hill said she wasn't so sure what will be next.

"I hesitate to say anything until we have a strategic plan," she said.