Depending on how the Limestone County Commission votes Monday, the Athens-Limestone Public Library could have a construction manager to oversee the long-planned project.

The Athens City Council passed a resolution Monday to name Tanner-based Limestone Building Group LLC to oversee renovations to the former Kroger building on South Jefferson Street. Because the county and city purchased the building together, however, the commission will also have to approve hiring the company.

Mayor Ronnie Marks said the council passed the measure unanimously, and he has urged Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee to put the item on the commission’s April 2 meeting.

“We are excited about moving forward and continuing to be a leader in engaging the community through education and economic development,” said Paula Laurita, library director. “We are hopeful that this new library will serve as a catalyst for continued growth.”

Officials with the library foundation are also looking forward to the first stages of renovating the 39,000-square-foot building after five years of planning. The idea to move the library to the old Kroger building location was first suggested in 2006 by the late Harvey Craig, a library proponent and former chairman of the library’s board of trustees.

“We are pleased that the City Council has approved the selection of a construction manager for this project, which will take us one step closer to making the new library a reality for our community,” said Dr. Frank Cauthen, chairman of the library foundation. “We hope this action will encourage others in the community to support the campaign effort.”

Marks said hiring a construction manager for the library did not have to be let for bid, and that council members requested proposals from Limestone Building Group and Martin & Cobey Co. Inc.

“It was not an easy decision for the council to make, but the majority wanted to go in this direction and (Limestone Building Group) will do a great job,” he said.

The next step, the mayor said, will be to shore up architectural agreements. There is currently about $2.45 million in a project account overseen by the city and Marks said that amount should get the first phase of the interior demolition well under way.

“We’re ready to see a (demolition) dumpster down there,” he said.

Fundraising coordinator Debbie Joyner said in a statement that the foundation is still raising funds to meet the second phase of a Dekko Foundation challenge grant. The initial $250,000 challenge was met before the end of 2011, and the foundation must still raise $450,000 by year’s end. If the group meets its goal, the Dekko Foundation will grant $1 million toward the project.

Joyner said the foundation has created a thermometer-themed sign that will be erected in front of the library to keep the public informed about the fundraising progress. She said the sign could be installed by week’s end.

The foundation has naming opportunities available in the new facility, and donors of $5,000 or more will be recognized on a “major donor wall,” Joyner said.

For more information about the campaign or ways to donate, contact Joyner at debbiejoyner@comcast.net.

In other business, the City Council:

• Passed an ordinance to rezone property for First United Pentecostal Church at 17175 Lucas Ferry Road and Athens Church of God at 17835 Quinn Road;

• Passed an ordinance to rezone property for G&K Holdings at 800 and 810 N. Jefferson St.;

• Approved an alcohol license for D One Corporation, located at 1514 East Elm St. The measure was related to a change of ownership;

• Approved an alcohol license for the First & Last Stop, located at 19017 Highway 127. The measure was related to a change of ownership;

• Accepted streets and easements in new subdivisions;

• Approved the purchase of lighting for the senior center;

• Approved renaming Athens Utilities’ customer service department to customer accounts department;

• Approved a resolution to hire Grayson Carter & Son to build a cemetery storage facility at Roselawn Cemetery;

• Passed a resolution establishing the use of electronic vote counting devices;

• Approved a resolution to secure financing for improvements in the Gas Department infrastructure, expansions and CNG stations and equipment;

• Set a public hearing for April 23 concerning a request to rezone property at the intersection of Alabama 127 and Airport Road and on Heron Drive. The property owner is requesting it be rezoned from an M-1 (light industrial) to M-2 (heavy industrial) district;

• Rejected the bid of Bakers Waste Equipment and accepted the bid of Wastequip Manufacturing Co. LLC to provide recycling dumpsters; and

• Approved the purchase of a vehicle with the proceeds from the sale of scrap metal.

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