After many years, once again, the county seat of Sharp County will house a library.
Thanks in part to Ash Flat Mayor Danny Traw, who has seen the need for a library in the area, the city will see renovations of the current fire station to house the new library begin between December and January. Traw said, "It depends on the weather, but we could be in there by late spring or early summer of next year."
The city of Ash Flat applied for a $200,000 grant through the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and an additional $100,000 from USDA-Rural Development.
In a press released issued by Carrie Macintosh with White River Planning and Development in Batesville, she said the $100,000 will be used for renovating the fire station to be used as a public library. Both grants will be used for not only renovations, but also to purchase library equipment.
The fire department is approximately 3,000 square feet and the renovation will include a new lobby, handicap assessable restrooms and a multi-purpose room to be used as a meeting or classroom. There will also be a book check desk, staff work room, adult and children's stack area and a computer area.
White River Planning and Development District prepared both applications and will administer the funds to the city until the project is completed. The project will go through a bidding process and a grant specialist will oversee the project. The city is currently awaiting grant agreements from AEDC before any work can begin. USDA has already completed the necessary paperwork.
Cherokee Village architect Larry Bronson will oversee the project along with WRPD. Bronson did the preliminary work for the grant application.
Traw, City Clerk Charlotte Goodwin and the Ash Flat City Council, along with a group called "Library Supporters," all played a major role in helping to insure this grant was awarded for the city.
The library will be a part of the White River Regional Library, based in Batesville.