Brainerd library closing in on start date

Brainerd library closing in on start date

September 13th, 2012 by Cliff Hightower in News

Corinne Hill

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Two years after it was first envisioned, a Brainerd library branch may be coming into view.

Corinne Hill, director of the Chattanooga Public Library, said this week the library has approved a bid for design of the branch and should be presenting a contract to the City Council soon.

"That's the part we're working on," Hill said.

Local design company Artech won the bid. Efforts to reach architect David Hudson with Artech were unsuccessful.

Hill estimated the cost of the design at $500,000 to $600,000, but said all those details still need to be worked out. She guessed that the total cost might approach $2 million.

A new Brainerd library branch has been in the works since Mayor Ron Littlefield proposed it two years ago in a State of the City address. Since then, the library has received money in the capital budget each year for the design.

Hill said the library project now has $1 million in hand, but that's still not enough to cover all expenses.

"We don't have construction money," she said.

The new library will be at the site of the former U.S. Postal Service center near Eastgate Town Center. City officials have said they expect to refurbish the building rather than demolish and rebuild.

A master plan for the area that was worked out almost three years ago calls for more green space, a museum and the library branch.

Hill said the design will be based on information gathered from the public over the last four years.

"We've got tons of community input," she said.

But she said it would not stop there. The design could take nine to 12 months because she wants the public to have a chance to give more input, she said.

District 6 Councilwoman Carol Berz, who district covers the proposed library location, has helped lead the way on getting it built. Berz said the design team has attended many community meetings to gather input that will be used on the design.

Once built, the library will have an impact in her district and and beyond, into the area north of Brainerd and East Brainerd, she aid.

"It's going to serve all kind of people [regardless of] boundary lines," she said.