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Posted: January 11, 2014 10:00 p.m.

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Social Circle buys land for library

Social Circle’s regional library needs more space, and the city needs to be better prepared for a proposal for state funds to build a new facility.

Both of those needs were addressed recently when the city purchased the old Welcome Inn structure and land, located at 184 S. Cherokee Road.

The property, which served as a motel from the 1960s until November, was bought for $125,000, and is currently being checked for asbestos, according to city manager Doug White. Once the asbestos testing is done, the city will move to get bids on its removal and demolition. White said he believes the city can move on demolition in the spring.

With the buildings knocked down, the area will serve as a green space, until Social Circle can move forward with its matching-funds bid to the state for a new library. White said the timing of the bid will correspond with ESPLOST bringing in the appropriate funds.

"It’s going to be about four or five years before we have a match in hand," White said. "The opportunity to get hold of that piece of property was a good situation for us and the owner."

The newly purchased space fits into Social Circle’s master plan for the Depot area. The new Regional Library, alongside Cherokee Road, will back up into a green space and an amphitheater, accompanying retail shopping and an event facility.

"The library is ultimately part of a plan that will provide for the parking of the library and for the amphitheater," White said.

The W.H. Stanton Memorial Library, built in 1998 and opened a year later, isn’t able to support the number of patrons at 1045 W. Hightower Trail, causing the city to look toward a bigger facility.

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