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Monday, July 17, 2017

CROSSVILLE FLASHBACK 2007: Discussion on new library covers need to buy railroad property never completed

During the city attorney's report at city council's July meeting, Will Ridley told the council that he had a call from the county attorney and said the county was having trouble with old Railroad property that was under the site of the new Art Circle Public Library.

According to Ridley, “Some of that property runs behind the amphitheater that the city owns and it's my understanding that the city owns that property and they would like for us to potentially negotiate purchasing that property. I know you all had talked about bathrooms and other things in that area.”

Image from state comptrollers property website showing
railroad property running through library property.

Councilman J. H. Graham commented that he believed the railroad right of way was 100 feet wide and he thought the county received it free and clear years ago. He added, “Before we start talking about buying something, I want a title opinion. Somebody didn't get a title opinion if they are asking $40,000 for what the library is sitting on.” Mr. Ridley assured the council he would look at the property.

The Ten year Crossville Flashback story below is from January 2007 and recaps a discussion with the council about the property including the railroad property as plans for the new library was moving forward. One of those addressing the council was the late Carol Darling. Also discussed was a possible widening of Webb Avenue that was under consideration.

Jim Young Reporter sponsored by

(News Story from January 2007 giving Crossville city council update on library plans)
New Library coming closer to reality?

Carol Darling, left, and architect David Collins, right, 
go over early library plans in January 2007 with city council.

Crossville city council members expressed their support for the latest proposed location of a new library building as it was presented at the Council's regular January meeting.

The proposal to locate a new 30,000 square foot library building along Webb Avenue behind the Cumberland County Courthouse was presented by Carol Darling, a board member of the Caney Fork Regional Library and David Collins, with architects McCarty Holsaple and McCarty. The proposed location would take a block of Division Street closest to Webb Avenue and cover part of the site of the old Turner Day Woolworth handle mill and the old railroad right of way.

Darling started out by thanking the city council for their financial support of the Imagination Library, a program developed by Dolly Parton that provides books to all young children in the county. According to Darling, 40 percent of the eligible children in the county have been registered for the program. That number is well above the expected goals for participation in the program and everyone involved in the program is extremely happy with that success.

Darling went on to describe how small and inadequate and out of date the current library building is and how the limited the space available means users of the library are unable to enjoy the kind of comfort most library's provide. Darling added that there are currently only 8 seats in the reference department. Darling said that the proposed new location was approved by a consensus of the board.

David Collins works for McCarty Holsaple McCarty, architects that have worked on the library expansion plans for a number of years. Collins told the council that the location of the library would allow for what he called a “governmental center” that would include the courthouse square and buildings behind and in front of it that make up a campus of government offices and facilities.

The new proposed library building would be 30,000 square feet, three times the size of the current building and capable of handling the community's library needs for many years into the future.

Darling said that the library was seeking several types of help from the city for the project including closing and abandoning a portion of Division Street and East Street. In addition, the city is being asked to provide funding to pay for the portion of the handle mill property needed for the project. An option of the property needed has been signed between the property owner and the library at a cost of $125,000.

Council members generally approved the plan and Crossville Mayor J. H. Graham III said he felt the council would approve putting $125,000 in the upcoming 2006-2007 fiscal year budget for purchase of the land as requested.

The cost of any railroad right of way property is unknown at the current time, but is expected to have some cost. In addition, because of the Sprint fiber optic communications cable that runs in the railroad right of way, no construction can take place over that property, but it can be paved over for parking.

Mayor Graham also talked about the potential increase in traffic along Webb Avenue with the new library location and plans the city has previously discussed for widening the road to allow it to handle additional traffic. Graham asked that the library designs take future widening of the road into account so the city could continue with plans to help the traffic flow through the area.

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