With the current Arlene Cherry Memorial Public Library almost literally bursting at the seams, state, city and county officials welcomed the May 8 “groundbreaking” for the new library. The groundbreaking was done by scooping ceremonial shovelfuls from a pile of dirt poured atop the asphalt for the occasion.
The new library will be in the former Knight’s Grocery Store at the junction of South 10th Street with West Main Street (Arkansas Highway 89).
Deborah Moore, director of the Lonoke-Prairie County Library System, led the groundbreaking that included state Senator Eddie Joe Williams, County Judge Doug Erwin, Justices of the Peace H.L. Lang and Lee Linville; Cabot mayor Bill Cypert; Cabot aldermen Ann Gilliam, Kevin Davis, and Ed Long; as well as library board members Leroy Gatlin and Sarah Orlicek, Cabot Schools superintendent Tony Thurman and Dayco Construction officials.
Moore opened the remarks by thanking Cabot residents for approving the city capital improvement bond refunding that allowed the ensuing library improve bond. “This would not be happening but for that,” Moore said.
Cypert remarked that adequate library services are crucial for any community to be successful, adding the possibility of expanding into other buildings on the lot and forming an educational center.
The city has been eyeing the possibility of expanding into other facilities that share the paved parking area, making the area an educational complex in cooperation with colleges and universities in much same way the Little Rock Air Force Base Education Center.
The Cabot library is a partnership between the Lonoke Prairie County Library System board of directors, who manage the operation, and the City of Cabot that owns the property.
Architect Robert M. Schelle designed the refurbishing of the former grocery store into a multi-purpose facility. The 23,000 square-feet of space will be divided into various sections, including a community event room that is accessible after hours.
The location will make the library more visible than the present site on North Grant Street, much easier access and better parking areas.
In presentations during the campaign promoting the refunding of the capital improvement bond library board members emphasized the growing numbers of library patrons.
The construction contract was awarded April 21, and the groundbreaking ceremony held May 8 marked the beginning of the renovation of the building.
Work is estimated to be complete during the first quarter of 2015, with the building furnished and operating in the second quarter.