While county and city officials continue to look for a new site for the Richmond Hill Public Library, there is hope state money could be available next year to move the project forward.
Jennifer Durham, director of the Statesboro Regional Public Libraries, said the Georgia Public Library Services recently completed its 2018 capital outlay request and the Richmond Hill Library is No. 10 on the list. The request — a total of $16.6 million — will be forwarded to the Georgia Assembly for consideration in the fiscal 2018 budget, which begins July 1.
Durham said a new Richmond Hill library would need about $2 million in state funding to go along with some $1.68 million in SPLOST money the county has set aside for the project.
“Securing a location would express a readiness that can work in our favor,” Durham said.
Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor said site development and acquisition costs will play a “major role” in the final determination. Taylor said last spring that land to the north of the County Administration Building on Capt. Matthew Freeman Drive was considered, but was too low to build on. Estimates showed a cost of $160,000 an acre just to prep the land.
Durham has said a new 24,000-square-foot library, with room to expand twice that and parking for 240 vehicles, would require 7.5 acres.
Still in the mix is the “town center” being developed by the city on Highway 144 across from The Ford Plantation. Durham told commissioners in April that location might not work because library officials wanted road frontage in order to be visible to newcomers and visitors, but the city’s latest plans for the 51-acre project show a spot for the library along Highway 144.
“The town center property is still very much in contention for the new library,” Councilman Russ Carpenter said.