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Forest City Public Library/Forest City Foods

The city of Forest City has purchased the former Forest City Foods building as a new location for the Forest City Public Library.

Work on the roof of the new Forest City Public Library is now underway, just in time for the arrival of winter.

The total cost of the new roof is $182,433.

Council members were given an by update Forest City Library Director Christa Cosgriff, during the Forest City City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 4

“Work on the new library roof is in progress,” Cosgriff said. She was joined by Shelley Current and Beth Tjarks.

The new library project has been ongoing for some time, beginning when the city purchased the Forest City Foods building, with plans to remodel it as a new library for the community.

Replacing the existing roof, which leaks, is the main focus at this time and a stepping stone to preparing for the remodeling phases in the upcoming near future.

“The roof leaks really bad,” said City Administrator Barb Smith. “We knew that when we purchased the building. So, the first step is make it so there is not a waterfall inside of it. The roof was leaking and before getting inside the building it needed to be done.

"The roof has been engineered by the architect that is doing the inside of the building, so it will work with the new library once it gets done.”

Midwest Roofing is expected to soon begin work on the roof. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 6.

“We are working with a fundraising company called Convergent that will be helping us do the fundraising for the new library,” Smith said. “The fundraiser will be contacting certain members of the community. They will be doing a feasibility study before they actually start raising the money, to see if there is interest in the community to raise enough money to remodel the library. We don’t have a solid dollar amount, because the architect is still working, but it will be somewhere around two million dollars that will have to be raised.”

The feasibility study is set to begin around the Thanksgiving holiday. Fundraising is estimated to take approximately about a year to complete.

The new library will feature updates of about 10 computers, community room, three meeting rooms, updated reading areas, new lower shelving and more accessible areas for reference and genealogy resources.

“We are going to expand the children’s section,” Cosgriff said, “and be able to run more programs, where we can actually have crafts that kids can do. We will offer more story times especially with the summer reading program and have enough room for everyone to be there.

"Juveniles will have their own area where they can sit, study and use computers.”

Smith said, “The façade of the building will be different and the parking lot will be redone with more green space to keep it from looking like a grocery store parking lot.”

As for the old library building, Smith said there had been some discussion as to what to do with the old building.

When they actually start moving the library, Smith said the Forest City Mayor Barney Ruiter would put together a citizens' group to decide what to do with the old library.

“I’m excited about the new library,” Smith said. “It will be great for the community. We can offer more programming. We’ve had a very small library, which limits the programming Christa is able to offer. She will have a larger children’s area. It will be a great asset to the community.”

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Jesusa Christians is the Community Editor of the Forest City/Britt Summit-Tribune.

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