North Main library reopens to public after extensive renovations
In November 2013, Richland County voters said “yes” to a $59 million bond referendum to pay for renovations and repairs for Richland Library branches. Saturday, they got a first look at how the money is being spent.
The library’s North Main Street branch reopened to the public after extensive renovations, and Richland County Councilman Jim Manning said the building’s new look is proof of money well spent.
“For any voter that hasn’t been out yet, this is the first one done,” Manning said. “Come see it and you’ll know what’s coming to your community because we’re working with all the branches throughout the whole county.”
Richland Library Executive Director Melanie Huggins said Saturday was a long time coming, but worth the wait.
“It’s been a two-year process, listening to the community and hearing what their hopes and dreams and aspirations are for their neighborhood, and I hope today they’re going to see we made a lot of those come true.”
“The North Main branch is the first branch we have completed with the bond referendum of 2013,” Huggins added. “We have six other projects in construction right now, and three more to go. … Every neighborhood is going to see something like this in the next couple of years.”
The library now has 2,000 square feet of additional space, Huggins said, including a larger meeting room for community events, a larger children’s section and an outdoor courtyard.
The grand opening was the latest event in a busy year for North Main Street, which has been the focus of development with the opening of The War Mouth and announced plans for more businesses including restaurant NoMa Revival, owned by Kristian Niemi of Bourbon.
“Things really are changing down here,“ said James Gilliam, who lives near the library and attended the opening. Manning, who pushed to get the library referendum on the 2013 ballot, agreed.
“I drove out here from Soda City, and just the whole way out North Main, the changes are just outstanding,” he said. “There’s parts that are growing out to meet each other. It’s just outstanding, particularly for the people who live in this community.”
More information on the library’s other bond referendum projects is available at the library website.