MURRAY — Several members of the Calloway County Library Board of Trustees are set to begin providing tours of a location they have in mind as a potential option for expanding the library. 

Board members Mark Kennedy, Winfield Rose and Joe Walker will be providing tours of the former Regions Bank building located on the corner of Fourth and Main Streets in Murray. In a press release, it was indicated that the tours are for the general public, other board members, Friends of the Public Library, as well as library staff. Those tours will be conducted Thursday at the building from 3:30-6:30 p.m. 

The intent of the tours, the release said, is to educate all concerned to the possibility of considering the downtown location as a potential alternative for library expansion. 

Mark Kennedy, with the board of trustees, said this was an option board members were looking at to cut costs on a potential expansion. He also said the tours will serve as a means to put more options on the table for the community. 

“The objective is to (potentially) encourage the pubic library to purchase the bank building to relocate the adult library,” Kennedy said. “Then we would maintain the library where it is now as a children’s library.” 

“The point is it will be less cost,” Kennedy added. “We could do this for about $30 per square foot as opposed to $220 per square foot for the renovation that is currently on the table. That is a significant savings and we probably would not have to finance any of it or sell bonds; we have enough cash now that we feel we could do it.” 

He said this isn’t the only option that board members are considering, but it is one that Kennedy felt should be looked at.

“We are going to put another option on the table, but what we want to do is give the public, library staff, board members, everybody an opportunity to go through the bank building and see what the possibilities are,” Kennedy said. “We want to see if they might agree with us that this might be a viable option.” 

Kennedy said he wanted as many members of the public as possible to come through and see what the building might be able to offer the community in terms of a library expansion. 

“We want as many people as possible to come through there just to look,” Kennedy said. “We have a fiduciary responsibility to do things as efficiently as we can for the taxpayers of Calloway County. We just think that this is a more viable option as far as cost effectiveness. It would also help rejuvenate the downtown area if we adopt this. 

“But we don’t want to adopt this without giving people the chance to make their comments and voice any objections that they may have.” 

Kennedy said they would need to have a structural engineer as well as an environmental impact study done. If those came back clear, Kennedy said that a decision needed to be made by the board’s meeting in January. 

Board chair Audrey Neal told the Ledger by email that she was unaware of any such tours being planned. 

“I’m currently out of town for work, but didn’t know anything about any of this,” Neal said. “Mr. Kennedy hasn’t shared any information with me about touring the building.” 

Neal was unavailable for further comment at press time. 

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