New Library Location Proposal

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Dothan City Mayor Pat Thomas is meeting with architects on Wednesday regarding a new Dothan library.

Leaders are proposing a location that is set to be a major part of downtown revitalization.

"I love the library. It has all the research I need," says one Houston-Love Memorial Library user.

It’s that love that library leaders and city officials hope to spread with a new facility.

Right now, the Houston-Love Memorial Library is in desperate need of repair.

"This was built as a school originally and we still have classrooms numbers painted above doors and other space that did not adapt well for public use. We are also dealing with the reality of 1940 construction when it comes to wiring and plumbing. It is a lovely location and a lovely facade of the building," says Director of Houston-Love Memorial Library, Bettye Forbus.

So, the biggest question is where to put the library.

After much debate, area leaders say they are going to put it somewhere in the 200 block of Foster Street.

"We like to think of the library as the heart of the community and a downtown location signifies that. We have a lot of walk-in traffic where we are. We know it's not feasible for the people who are regular library users to drive to a location that might follow popular trends," says Forbus.

Mayor Thomas says he's in favor of the downtown location. He told News 4, "There would have to be a couple of businesses relocated and a mural relocated. The commission would have to approve it, but it could be the catalyst to downtown redevelopment."

The new space would be 60,000 square feet, which is compared to the nearly 36,000 square feet that is used now.

The city of Dothan has pledged $10-million dollars from its Pennies for Progress towards the construction.

That will come after the library has raised $4 million.

"When we have actual drawings showing how much space can be used for what purpose, we will have many naming opportunities that would be a nice tribute to a family member," says Forbus.

The library is set to have many new features.

It will include wireless internet access throughout the building, a larger staff to accommodate the expected attendance growth, a larger computer lab with more online classes offered and more activities for children.

There is also hope for a coffee and snack bar for workers to relax during their lunch hour downtown.

Safety is another point that officials are addressing. The new library will have many street lights.

Plus, the library will be closer to the Dothan Police Station.

Library workers say police will increase their foot patrol in the area.

As far as the old facility will go, officials say it will be used.

Still, no set plan has been made on what to do with the building.

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