Stanford library board in a quandary after rejection of free site

October 14, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - Two days after Harvey Helm Memorial Library board members voted to reject their last possible location for a new building, the community is still trying to decide what comes next.

Board president Betty Simpson said the library board will next meet Nov. 1, but has no idea what they would do. They have dismissed each of the four pieces of property they had been considering for a new location.

"We searched and searched before we found this land. So I don't know where to go at this point," Simpson said.

With Tuesday's unilateral 3-2 vote, board members rejected the only piece of free land offered to them for a larger building. The downtown property, bordered by Depot, Lancaster and Church streets, would have come free of charge and included a $55,000 donation by local physician Dr. Naren James.


The two acres of land was being donated by the Jess Correll family, First Southern National Bank and an anonymous third party.

Civic leaders and citizens had repeatedly encouraged the board to accept the land.

Chamber of Commerce director Andrea Miller said the library was an intricate part of downtown's backbone.

"The library is a strength to our downtown." The chamber would like to see the library stay in Stanford not only for convenience but also for the increased traffic it brings to the city, said Miller.

Stanford Mayor Eddie Carter said he believed the vote was at odds with what the community wanted.

"Of all the meetings we've had, if this site is not what they want, why hasn't somebody stepped up? They've got to listen to the people," Carter said.

Lincoln County Judge Executive Buckwheat Gilbert has maintained that the public is definitive in their choice of locations.

"I get a lot of phone calls. I've not had one phone call that doesn't want the library built right here," Gilbert told The Advocate in June.

If the library is now to stay downtown, more than a little luck will be needed in finding a new location. Both Miller and Carter said available downtown property was a scarce commodity.

"There's just not that much (available property) that I know of. I'm going to look around, but it's tough," Carter said.

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