A proposal for a new library in Holts Summit was made Thursday to the Callaway County Library District Board, a part of the Daniel Boone Regional Library system, following months of work and around $325,000 worth of renovations to the proposed location.
The board did not make a decision at the meeting and plans to hold another discussion on the matter before bringing it to the entire DBRL Board of Trustees.
The location for the library would be a newly renovated space in Summit Plaza in downtown Holts Summit. The effort to bring a library to the city has been led by the Holts Summit Community Empowerment Foundation and Good Earth Properties-Holts Summit LLC, which manages the property.
Marty Wilson, who is overseeing the project and was asked to make the proposal to the board, said the group used a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan through the Callaway Chamber of Commerce to pay for the renovation in the hopes of drawing in a library system from the area to run it.
Mitzi St. John, public relations manager at DBRL, said the proposal is under advisement.
"There is a process that we have to go through when we are considering a new location, so those details will have to be considered and evaluated and put into motion before we can move forward on any project that we do," St. John said. "It will start with the Callaway board and will probably be also presented then to the full board as well."
The proposal involves DBRL paying approximately $5,000 per month to rent the space at $9 per square foot, which board members expressed concern in being able to afford. Wilson said the cost is negotiable.
Wilson, who works as a real estate agent, noted the price is cheaper than you'd expect to find for other properties.
"That's with everything finished and ready for you guys to just bring stuff in," he said. "We'll have all the shelving, and everything will already be in place."
Wilson told the board if they do not decide to add the location in Holts Summit to their system, the group would investigate the Missouri River Regional Library or the Jefferson City Public Schools system as other options. It could be possible to run it themselves with the city's cooperation, he added.
"I would much prefer it to be you guys," Wilson told the Callaway County district board. "We don't want to have to go to place B or C."
Rick Hess, Holts Summit city administrator, said the library would be well-utilized in the city.
"I think, absolutely, it's needed there," Hess said. "It'll give someplace for everybody to gather together, and (I) think it would be a good place for the kids — it'll actually give them someplace to go in the afternoons."
Hess said he wasn't sure how the library would work if the city did decide to run it for themselves, and it would need help to get started.
Wilson said the location is up to date with everything new and built to maximize energy efficiency.
The building is slated to get high-speed fiber internet through Callabyte, he added, which will be run to the library then spread out from there.
Wilson said the project is part of a longer plan to create a "safe zone" in Holts Summit, following a philosophy of "quilting," which involves creating an area with different services and business that benefit the community. Another project by the Holts Summit Community Empowerment Foundation is to create a community center next to the proposed library site and start a "Kid's Zone."
"The library is part of the cornerstone of a bigger project which is going to be a before- and after-school program for kids," he said. " The program is to actually curb the (disparities) between two of the elementary schools in our city, and the library (is) the cornerstone that solves some of those problems, according to the counselors and principals in the schools."
News Tribune reporter Philip Joens contributed information to this article.