Proposed Expansion of Dothan Library

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

Plans to renovate and expand the Houston-Love Memorial Library are in full swing.

City leaders are working on a proposal to make the library more marketable.

Plans to relocate Dothan’s only public library have been in the works for some time now.

But a recently proposed idea suggests keeping the library, right where it is.

“The idea from the committee would be to buy these three properties here and expand what is already the Houston-Love library,” said city commissioner Taylor Barbaree

Barbaree is also chairman of the library committee.

He proposes buying up several properties along Oates Street to make room for an expanded library.

“The benefit of keeping the library in the current location will undoubtedly save money over time by virtue of the fact that you're not starting from scratch,” said Barbaree.

“Quite frankly, even though it is a grand building it is embarrassing to show them what we have is what we call a library,” added Barbaree.

Purchasing the three properties won't come cheap.

“The cost of the property is $1.4 million,”

But city leaders say the purchase will eventually pay off.

“Yes, we are spending $1.4 million on a piece of property but it's called an investment. There's some up front cost, but in the long run it's going to be better off for all of us,” said Dothan City Commissioner Paul Lee.

Officials with the library are on board with the idea.

“I think this is an ideal compromise,” said Director of the Houston-Love Memorial Library, Bettye Forbus.

Barbaree believes having a modern library attracts potential residents.

“I like it personally because with the curbside appeal you're allowing entrance and exit from a major thoroughfare through our city and at the same time you're revitalizing downtown in the process,”

If the proposal passes, Christmas may come a little early this year for some.

“The vote on the decision to acquire the property will come in December and I hope that's my best Christmas present,” joked Forbus.

If the plan is approved, construction on the expansion most likely wouldn't begin until early 2011.

A second public forum to discuss the proposal will take place next Monday at 6 p.m. at the Dothan Opera House.

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